This piece of monumental sculpture is a marble capital dating from the 16th century. It has all the characteristics of the Corinthian order, which is mainly determined by a great wealth of ornamentation and a capital decorated with two rows of acanthus leaves.
The acanthus is a southern plant with large, supple and deeply cut leaves that the Greeks used as an ornament for their funeral steles. From the 5th century A.D. onwards, they chose it to compose their third type of capital, the Corinthian, which follows the Doric and Ionic types. In its classical form, the Corinthian capital consists of two registers of stemless acanthus leaves with a broad base and slightly inclined at the top. Above the rows of acanthus leaves, two confronting scrolls extend from each of the corners of the abacus. In the centre of the scrolls are two other smaller scrolls, the caulicoles. The tailloir is protruding at the corners, curved and decorated with a flower on each side of the capital.
Our capital has these different elements while having the particularity of being sculpted on three sides and having its leaves worked with a drill bit. Used since Antiquity, the drill bit is a tool used in sculpture to reach recesses, clear hard-to-reach parts and roughen small diameter grooves. Slow and precise, it is intended for very fragile areas and hard materials such as wood, stone and marble. Its use here reinforces the splendour of this work carved in marble and gilded with gold leaf.

Corinthian marble capital – 16th century