Jesse Tree

First half of the 14th century
Marble relief
Orvieto Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption)

In Romans 15:12 Paul quotes Isaiah 11:10 in arguing that Christ is for the Gentiles as well as the Jews: "There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope." Jesse is the father of King David. Medieval artists and their sponsors responded to Paul's argument with the iconographic tradition called the "Jesse Tree." Jesse lies at the base of a genealogical "tree" that rises up through David, Solomon, and five more kings to reach Mary and a regnant Christ at the top. Along the two sides are prophets and episodes from the Old and New Testaments.

View the bottom of the tree in full resolution.
View the middle of the tree in full resolution.
View the top of the tree in full resolution.
For comments on how this relief relates to the others on the cathedral façade, please follow this link.

Read more about images of Jesse.

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