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Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vézelay - West Burgundy

Vézelay's Medieval Narrative Capitals

 

Back to Paradoxplace Burgundy & Champagne Pages

 

 

 

LINKS TO OTHER BASILIQUE STE-MADELEINE (VÉZELAY) PAGES

 

 

The story of Vézelay and photos from our 2004 visit there

 

 

Photos from 2007 - main page

 

 

Vézelay's Tympanums and Narthex Sculptures

 

 

Vézelay's Medieval Narrative Capitals (this page)

 

 

Labours of the Month and Signs of the Zodiac

 

 

 

 

 

Buy from Amazon USA

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Limited edition hard cover coffee table book - the most comprehensive images (including all the Zodiac archivolt) and script - in French with photos in black and white.

 

 

Links to Cathédral St-Lazare (Autun) and Basilique St-Andoche (Saulieu)

 

MAP OF BURGUNDY

MAP OF THE FRENCH PILGRIMS' ROADS TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

 

 

 

Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vezelay, Nave

 

 

Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vézelay - the light-filled nave of the Basilica - there are 138 narrative capitals at the bases of the roof arches, the bases of the aisle arches and in the narthex.  130 of the capitals are originals, the eight others being copies of originals made in the 1800s restoration.

 

 

Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vezelay, South Aisle

 

 

 

Walking through the south west door into the south aisle and a sea of capitals, including (third from left and below) "The Mystic Mill".  This photo faces east, and was taken around mid-day on 10 September 2007, just before the 22 September Autumn Equinox.  Notice the light pooling on the bases of the south nave columns.

 

 

Vezelay, Moses and Paul Milling, Capital

 

 

The Mystic Mill - Moses (left) mills with Paul in the most famous of the 138 narrative capitals

 

"On the left, Moses pours grain into the mill.  On the right, Saint Paul (on the south east corner of the capital) carefully collects the flour.  The former stands in shadow, for he belongs to the Old Testament  whereas the latter, belonging to the New Testament, stands in light.  The mill is set in motion by a cross-shaped wheel slightly slanted so the light strikes it.  The mill implicitly stands for Christ, the Light of the world, extracting the very substance of ancient law to release it into the fully renewed message of the New Testament.  The abbot Suger had this theme represented on a stained glass window in the cathedral of Saint Denis near Paris."  (Basilica guide and plan -  Éditions Premier Chapitre)

 

 

Vezelay, Moses and Paul Milling, Capital

 

 

 

 

Les Vents

 

 

Lots more to come

 

Not photographed yet (can anyone help?) - La Luxure, Combat des Demons, La Sirene, Legende de Sainte Eugenie, Les Alchemistes, Lust and Despair, Moses & Golden Calf.

 

In the (long) pipeline (and meantime available on request) -  Morality & Sin (x1), Adam nEve (low), Attack, Combat Fabuleux, Daniel in Lions Den, David Rides a Lion, Grasshopper (converted pagan), History of St J Baptist, Isaac blesses Jacob, King & someone, La Morte de Lazare, Le Duel, Meutre de lEgyptien par Moise, Quatre Fleuves de Paradis, Rich Mans Meal, Sacrifices of Cain & Abel, Salome, St Hubert, Ste Madeleine et la Princesse de Provence, Struggle with Angel, Temptation of St Anthony,  Warrior v Wyvern ... and more

 

 

Vezelay, Adam and Eve Capital

 

 

Whilst higher up on the other side Eve contemplates doing something with an apple that she would later regret  .......

 

More Adam and Eves

 

 

Vezelay, Noah and his Ark, Capital

 

 

and Noah discusses the weather forecast with his missus (link to the Ark in Autun and in Norwich)

 

 

Vezelay, David and Goliath Capital

 

 

3 act epic:  left - little David gets ready to sling a stone at an overconfident Goliath (making a rude sign?);  centre - David has to climb up on the vegetation to get high enough to cut off Goliath's stone embedded head;  right (below) - David walks off with the Giant's head slung over his shoulder.

 

 

 

 

Vezelay, Libra and Gemini Capital

 

 

Libra (Le Balance) - September 23 to October 23 - the face on the far right belongs to one of the Gemini Twins who are hiding round the corner.  This is the only Vézelay capital devoted to Zodiac signs, though there is a full set of zodiac / monthly activity roundels around the tympanum over the main door.

 

 

Capital in Narthex

 

 

The blind man Lamech prepares to arrow Cain (twice)

 

 

Capital in Nave

Photo from book "Lumières de Vézelay"  Buy from Amazon USA  Buy from Amazon UK

 

 

 

St Martin and the pagan sacred tree

 

 

 

The Abduction of Ganymede

 

 

 

 

Joab kills Absolom, son of David

 

 

 

 

Punishment - of Avarice (greed) and Calumny (malicious falsehoods)

 

 

This super photo was sent to us a couple of years ago, since when it has become separated from the sender's email,

so we don't know his name ... momento ... sorry ... found it - thanks a lot to Laurie Wright ! 

 

 

Profane Music & Dissipation

 

 

 

 

Presentation of the Church - Medallion over north nave door.  A memorial to the great fire of 1120.

The Latin inscription translates as "now I am well smoked, later I shall be beautiful".

This is a copy of the original, which is in the museum.  

 

 

Vezelay, Siren Capital

 

A Siren Capital rescued by Viollet le-Duc during 1800s restorations and now in the rarely open museum.

Photo from book "Lumières de Vézelay"  Buy from Amazon USA  Buy from Amazon UK

 

 

Lots more to come

 

Not photographed yet (can anyone help?) - La Luxure, Combat des Demons, La Sirene, Legende de Sainte Eugenie, Les Alchemistes, Lust and Despair, Moses & Golden Calf.

 

In the (long) pipeline (and meantime available on request) -  Morality & Sin (x1), Adam nEve (low), Attack, Combat Fabuleux, Daniel in Lions Den, David Rides a Lion, Grasshopper (converted pagan), History of St J Baptist, Isaac blesses Jacob, King & someone, La Morte de Lazare, Le Duel, Meutre de lEgyptien par Moise, Quatre Fleuves de Paradis, Rich Mans Meal, Sacrifices of Cain & Abel, Salome, St Hubert, Ste Madeleine et la Princesse de Provence, Struggle with Angel, Temptation of St Anthony,  Warrior v Wyvern ... and more

 

Link to the story of Vézelay and photos from our 2004 visit there

 

 

Buy from Amazon USA

Buy from Amazon UK

 

 

 

 Buy from Amazon USA

Buy from Amazon UK

 

 

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All original material © Adrian Fletcher 2000-2015 - The contents may not be hotlinked, or reproduced without permission.