Images of Medieval Art and Architecture

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

Nave: Historiated Capital
Moses and the Golden Calf


Click here for a screen sized image.

Click here for very large "ARCHIVE IMAGE."

Subject Matter

(Exodus 32:15-19)

The subject is the Old Testament story of Moses confronting the Golden Calf- an idol created by the Israelites while Moses was absent.

Left face of Capital: A bearded Moses brandishes a rod in his right hand (not visible in this view) and in his left, raises the two Tablets of the Law, given to him by God on Mount Sainai.

Central face of capital. A demon with flaming hair emerges from the open mouth of the Golden Calf. The demon is naked and has a large, round head with an open mouth with large teeth. Its back foot resembles a lion's claw. The Golden Calf is a large figure with its head thrown back. It's rump appears to have been covered with a cloth.

Right face of capital. An bearded Israelite carries a ram on his shoulder (to be sacrificed to the Golden Calf?)

Location within Floorplan Placement in Elevation

Salet: Number 56-

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


Related Material

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

Click here to see other medieval images of Moses


Salet, p. 187.

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Created by J. Vadnal, September, 1998