Images of Medieval Art and Architecture

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

Nave: Historiated Capital 
Combat between Demons


Click here for a screen sized image.

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Subject Matter: This capital contains several grotesque figures (demons?)

Left face of this capital contains a naked emaciated (flayed?) humanoid figure stooping forward. It has large head, curled hair, fluted ears, and a large open mouth with prominent teeth. On the top of its head is a large shape which is so damaged that it is impossible to tell what it was originally - some scholars have suggested that it is a bird. The humanoid figure has cloven hooves instead of feet. It's large hands are in front of it, holding an object that has been broken off. Below it is a round object with a rim.

On the corner between the left face and the front face something been broken off. It is impossible to tell whether this is just the edge of the capital, or is some object being attacked by the figures on the capital's faces
On the central face of the capital: A grotesque figure stands behind a winged, reptilian monster. The front figure has a large mouth with two tusks and a protruding tongue. The front of its neck and body is marked with a line of small holes. It has lion's feet and its body is covered with what appears to be hair. It has large winds which appear to be covered with feathers. It appears to have a curving tail. Behind it stands a humanoid figure with a large, round head and an open mouth with two large protrubent teeth. (one broken off) In its hands is a long object (a spear, a rope?) which leads to the broken area between the central and left faces of the capital

Salet calls it a combat between two demons.
Compare to Nave capital 15.


Location within Floorplan Placement in Elevation

Salet: Number 55-

North side of nave. 
West side of sixth arcade pier. 

Standing in the centre of the nave looking north. 

Related Material

Click here to see other Vézelay capitals with unknown or miscellaneous subject matter


Salet, p. 187. 

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Created by J. Vadnal, August, 1998