Filippo Agricola and Nicola Consoni, Principal Façade of St. Paul Outside the Walls

Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy

The lowest register depicts four Old Testament prophets with scrolls bearing quotations from their prophecies: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. The middle adopts the ancient symbolism of twelve lambs approaching a lamb on a hilltop from which flow four rivers. The twelve represent the Apostles, the lamb represents Christ (although the artist does not put a cross on the halo), and the four rivers are for the four rivers of Genesis 2, which are interpreted by the commentators as the virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice (Glossa Ordinaria, I, 71-72.

In the uppermost register St. Peter with his keys and St. Paul with his sword flank the throne of Christ, which is set against a sunburst background. In the ancient tradition Christ blesses with his right hand while his left holds a book, open in this case to the words OVES MEAE VOCEM MEAM AUDIUNT ET EGO VITAM AETERNAM DO EIS, "My sheep hear my voice and I give them eternal life" (John 10:27-28).

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Read more about Christ in Majesty, St. Peter, St. Paul and the Lamb of God symbol.

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