Cain and Abel's Sacrifices

12th-13th century
Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

The text portrayed is Genesis 4:3-5. The image makes visual God's acceptance of Abel's sacrifice by means of the ray of light shining from God's hand to the lamb. For Cain, on the other hand, there is no ray. The idea of sacrifice is also visualized by the flame before the altar.

In this image the two brothers are almost exactly alike in face, hair, height, clothing, and attitude.

The inscription at the top is CAYM ET ABEL OFFERUNT DOMINO HOLOCAUSTA, "Cain and Abel offer holocausts to the Lord."

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View other panels in the cathedral's Genesis sequence

More of Abel

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.