Images of Medieval Art and Architecture

France: Vézelay
Benedictine Abbey Church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Nave: Historiated Capital 
David and Goliath


Click here for a screen sized image.

Click here for very large "ARCHIVE IMAGE."

Subject Matter

The subject is the Old Testament story of David and Goliath. (I Samuel 17:48-51)

On the left side of the capital, David raises his sling to hurl a stone at Goliath - however, this is a modern reconstruction.

On the front face of the capital, David cuts off Goliath's head. The small figure of David is at left, standing on an object (foliage??) while he pushes Goliath back with his left foot. David has no beard and is wearing a short tunic-like garment. He uses both arms to hold a sword with which he is cutting off Goliath's head. The large figure of Goliath is at right, falling backward. The giant has a beard and a long mustache and wears chain mail and a conical helmet. The stone with which David killed him is embedded in his forehead. From his belt hands a large empty scabbard- David is using Goliath's sword to behead him.

On the right side of the capital, David carries off Goliath's head (not visible in this image)

Location within Floorplan Placement in Elevation

Salet: Number 50-

North side of nave. 
North side of fourth arcade pier. 

Standing in the centre of the nave looking north. 

Related Material

Click here to see other Vézelay capitals showing episodes from the Old Testament

Click here to see other medieval images of David


Salet, p. 187. 

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Created by J. Vadnal, September, 1998