Christ in Majesty with Symbols of the Four Evangelists

Unidentified artist, Spanish (Catalan), 12th century


645 x 382 x 282 cm (253 15/16 x 150 3/8 x 111 in.); 645 cm (254 in.) at greatest height; 282 cm (111 in.) at greatest depth; 382 cm (150 3/8 in.) at greatest breadth.

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Fresco secco transferred to plaster and wood

On View

I. W. Colburn Chapel Gallery (Gallery 254A)





This fresco is among the greatest twelfth-century European paintings in the United States. It once decorated the apse - the semicircular area behind the altar - of the small church of Santa Maria del Mur, in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Huge eyed and solemn, the figure of Christ in majesty dominates the composition. The inscription in the book he holds reinforces Christ’s centralization in Christian art and doctrine: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh into the Father but by me.” Christ is surrounded by symbols of all four Evangelists (authors of the New Testament Gospels). Lower tiers contain the twelve Apostles (the original followers of Christ) and scenes from the Bible.


12th century, apse of Santa Maria de Mur, Lérida, Spain (original commission); 1919, frescoes sold by the rector of the church to Ignasi Pollak, removed from the church, and sold by Pollak to Luís Plandiura (b. 1882 - d. 1956), Barcelona [see note 1]; 1921, sold by Plandiura, through Rafael J. Bosch (with the assistance of Gabriel Dereppe), New York, to the MFA for $92,100. (Accession Date: May 5, 1921)

[1] See Anke Wunderwald and Mireia Berenguer i Amat, "Entorn al Museu: Les circumstàncies sobre la venda de les pintures murals de Santa Maria de Mur," Butlletí del Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya 5 (2001): 121-129 (English translation in MFA curatorial file).

Credit Line

Maria Antoinette Evans Fund