Ai fianchi del sovrano? Qualche osservazione sulle porte metalliche della Cappella Palatina di Palermo

Author: Giovanni Gasbarri

Flanking the King? Some Observations on the Metal Doors of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo

With its gilded wooden ceiling, as well as its magnificent mosaics and marble floor, the Cappella Palatina in Palermo has captured the attention of travelers and scholars since the early 19th century as the most peculiar of all Norman monuments in Sicily. However, despite the existence of a rich secondary literature on the Palatina, the two small metallic doors currently on the west end of the aisles have often been neglected, as if they were just minor components in an extremely complex organism. After Ursula Mende’s first attempt to include these doors as fully part of 12th-century Norman artistic production, they have been only sporadically examined by later scholars. They are usually ignored in most of the papers dedicated to the Palatina, and there is still no information available on the exact alloy that was used for forging them. By taking into consideration some recent scholarly contributions on the topic, this paper provides a new and extensive analysis of the two doors, with the aim of proposing a possible dating, and understanding whether they were actually forged to be arranged in the current position in the Palatina.