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Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vézelay - West Burgundy

Vézelay's Tympanums and Narthex Sculptures

 

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 (this page)

 

 

Vézelay's Medieval Narrative Capitals

 

 

Labours of the Month and Signs of the Zodiac at Vézelay

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

MAP OF BURGUNDY

MAP OF THE FRENCH PILGRIMS' ROADS TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

 

 

 

Narthex of Ste-Madeleine Basilica, Vezelay

 

 

Inside the Narthex of the Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vézelay  - The central doors, tympanum, lintel, archivolts and associated sculpture.

 

The main tympanum (1100s)

 

Jesus, encased in a mandorla, beams up the 12 disciples in a unique not-quite-Pentecoste representation.    Sadly many of them have been, literally, defaced, though noone had the courage to risk doing this to Jesus.  Various stories are told in the narrative boxes that sit on the inner semi-circle (archivolt) - in the bottom right box the Magi wear platform shoes to get a better view.  The next archivolt has 29 medallions with reliefs showing the zodiac signs for the seasons and the labours that take place at these times.  Peoples of the world walk the lintel, sadly many have also had their heads knocked off.

 

 

Tympanum - Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vezelay

 

 

Tympanum - Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vezelay

 

 

Tympanum - Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vezelay

 

 

Zodiac Signs and Monthly Labours, Basilique Ste-Madeleine, Vezelay

 

 

In the outer archivolt of the main door, there are roundels with reliefs of the 12 zodiac signs and the relevant monthly labours.  Here, from the "eleven o'clock position" are the loving Gemini Twins (Les Gémeaux, May 22 – June 21), a watchful reaper, and Cancer the Crab (Le Cancer, June 22– July 22), who looks like a bit of a latecomer.

 

Labours of the Month and Signs of the Zodiac at Vézelay

 

 

Magi at Vezelay

 

 

 

People of the world occupy the boxes on the inner archivolt and the lintel - here are some Magi lookalikes with platform shoes.

 

 

Vezelay - Lintel People

 

 

More people of the world at the right end of the main lintel - pigmies (left) and a people with seriously big ears (right).

 

 

Trumeau Statue - Peter and Paul at Vezelay

 

Vézelay - Peter and Paul converse above the right door jam of the central portal entrance from the Narthex.

 

 

Vézelay - The North and South West Doors

 

 

 

Vézelay's north west door tympanum shows the journey to and supper at Emmaus (bottom), and the Ascension (top).  Links to Emmaus suppers by Carpaccio in the Church of San Salvador, near the Rialto Bridge in Venice; and by who knows who in the cloister of the Spanish Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos.

 

 

Vezelay - South Aisle Door

 

The south west door tympanum shows the Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity (bottom) and the visit of the Magi.

 

 

The famous Vézelay Angel floats off the left door jam capital of the south west church portal (above right).

 

 

 

South west door Virgin Mary ensemble

 

 

 

Outside the angel, a merman with mo wields something in a focussed way, and the little person on the right cowers and hides their eyes.

 

 

 

On the other side a biped centaur swishes the tail and readies his formidable bow - maybe that's why the little person opposite is frightened?.

 

Vezelay - Life of Mary Tympanum

 

The tympanum of the south west church portal

 

Mary stuff - in the bottom row the annunciation, visitation, and nativity (Mary & Baby Jesus look heavenwards with startled eyes, surrounded by a concerned Joseph and nurse, 3 shepherds, animals, an angel, a dove and a star) topped by legless and mostly headless Magi.

 

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

 

 

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