Creation: Days 3 and 4

12th century
Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Sicily

On the left God speaks the words quoted in the inscription: congregentur aque que sub celos sunt in locum unum et appareat arida, "Let the waters that are under the heaven be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear" (Genesis 1:9). Thus the image shows the waters coursing into the sea to reveal mountains and dales.

The third day continues with God saying, "Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth" (1:11). Following this cue, the mosaic shows the lowlands with flowering grasses and the hilltops with trees of various kinds. Their "fruit" is shown only on the date palm on the right.

As in all the panels of the Creation and Fall of Man, God is portrayed with an uncrossed halo and a face identical to Adam's.

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View other panels in the chapel's Creation sequence

More of the Creation of the World

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