The Dove Returns to the Ark

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

Genesis 8:6-12. The bodies of victims of the flood are seen floating in the waters. The raven Noah had sent out perches on one of the bodies and plucks at its flesh. These details are related to the belief that the flood prefigures Baptism. (See the page for this fresco for an explanation.)

Above the raven, a dove also sent out by Noah returns with an olive leaf in its beak. Inside the ark are Noah's three sons and the four wives.

The inscription, noe misit columbam et rediit cum ramo olive, means "Noah sent out a dove and it returned with an olive branch."

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View the cathedral's Noah cycle as a whole.
View other panels in the cathedral's Genesis sequence.
Read more about images of Noah.

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