On the opposite side of the doorway is a coloured medallion, representing a man with a turban, who, leaning his back over the frame as though it were a window, seems to be gazing up at the painting above. This, Cavalcaselle suggests, is a portrait of the painter himself; Luzi, however, considers it to be Empedocles.
For an account of the Cathedral, see the Padre della Valle's "Storia del Duomo di Orvieto." "Il Duomo di Orvieto." Ludovico Luzi. Firenze. Le Monnier, 1866. Preserved among the Archives of the Cathedral. Transcribed by Vischer, p. 349, etc. The head of Luca is reproduced, divided from the other, as the frontispiece.
This form of ornamentation, so much used by Signorelli in these frescoes, adds greatly to their decorative beauty. Under this painting is a square-shaped portrait, half cut away by a recess, in which stands a modern altar. It is supposed by Luzi to represent Homer, and is the first of a series which run all round the walls, much repainted, but all of them the work of the master himself.
In that on the left a man stands on a dais, surrounded by soldiers who hold a prisoner bound before him. In the lower fragment, only one figure remains. These all represent, according to Luzi, scenes from Homer.
See Luzi, pp. 317-328, and the first extant commission given in 1310 to Maitani, which follows, pp. 328-330. The whole series has been admirably engraved under the superintendence of Ludwig Grüner.
This recess occupies more than one half of the space below "The Resurrection," allowing room for only one portrait and two medallions. The former Luzi has decided to be Lucan, and represents a beautiful youth, with a mass of loose curling hair crowned with oak-leaves and acorns. The scenes of the medallions are supposed to be from "The Phaisalia." In that above three nude men fight with fists, one binds his prostrate foe, and another bears off a slain body. In that on the right four men fight with clubs and swords. All are powerful figures, painted by Signorelli in his most characteristic manner. Below the portrait of the poet is an inscription of 1667, honouring the memory of Signorelli, and of Ippolito Scalza, the sculptor of the marble "Piet
Luzi, in his minute description of the paintings, has bestowed names on all these figures, without much advantage, since they are for the most part doubtful. Few of them bear symbols, but the different groups are sufficiently described in large letters, by the painters themselves GLORIOSVS APOSTOLORVM CHOIR MARTIRVM CANDIDATVS EXERCITVS etc. etc.
Underneath are the usual decorations, two square portraits surrounded each by four medallions. We do not need the help of Luzi to recognise Dante in the first, injured though it is, and much repainted, especially about the mouth, which gives the face a somewhat grotesque expression.
Below, the decorations correspond to those on the opposite side, the grisaille pictures, representing, according to Luzi, scenes from the "Metamorphoses" of Ovid, all, with the exception, perhaps, of the medallion just below the window, being also the work of the master, and very powerfully painted.
The portraits below are, according to Luzi, of Ovid and Horace, the four medallions round the former seeming, in their energy and furious life, to carry out the tumult of the great fresco above. They represent scenes from "The Metamorphoses," and deal chiefly with Hades and the infernal Deities.