The whiteness of his mantle and his brittleness are symbols of innocence and purity. Caesar Ripa points out the lamb brought in arm, sign of the personification of the innocence. Besides, the same author sets the animal close to a lion and to a wolf in two different personifications of the Peace. In the Christian tradition it has a double meaning: the believer who belongs to God’s flock, and the sacrificial victim. In Giovanni’s gospel (Giovanni 21, 15 -17) Jesus tells Simon Pietro: "you graze my lambs", and in Luca’s gospel 10,3 the same disciples are assimilated to lambs. But the animal embodies the victim, whose sacrifice has a save function. The prophet Isaia turns the image of the lamb into the image of the messia: "He has been subdued, and also afflicted: but he kept silent: he got beat to death, as a lamb; ..." (Isaia 537). Giovanni Battista at seeing Jesus arrive, greets him with the famous formula "Here is the lamb of God, that removes the sins of the world" (Giovanni, 129). In the Giovanni’s apocalypse ends the total identification between the sacrificial lamb and the Christ. The lamb, with the fish and the boat, are very common symbols in the Christian art of the first centuries, included the funeral art. The lamb can represent: the Passion (he holds the cross among the legs and has a bloody wound), the Resurrection (he holds the cross on which a fire appears) and the Judgment (he leans the legs on the book of the Judgment). In the Italian funeral art of the XIX century, the lamb is an uncommon symbol.
Click here to introduction of funerary symbols.
Traduzione dall'italiano di Giulia Casapinta.