Images of Medieval Art and Architecture

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

Nave: Historiated Capital 
Feast of Dives 

Click here for a screen sized image.

Subject Matter


New Testament theme (parable) : The Feast of  Dives (Luke 16:19-21)

On the left face of the capital (not visible) stands the beggar Lazarus. He leans on a stick and his ulcerous sores are being licked by two dogs. The front face of the capital shows the interior of the house of Dives-the house is indicated by the arched structure at the tops with its pairs of tall narrow windows with arced tops. Three figures are behind a table covered with a cloth on which are a knife and several other objects (dishes? Platters of food?) The figure in the center is Dives the rich man. He is bearded and larger than the other figures. He holds a piece of food in right hand, which he is offering to the woman seated on his left. She leans forward to bite it. To the left is another figure which points to the figure of Lazarus. On the right face of the capital (barely visible), a servant prepares food in a cauldron over a fire while holding another one in her hand

On the top corners of the capital are animal heads which Salet identifies as lions.

Capital 21 shows a related subject, the deaths of Dives and Lazarus
Salet: Number 72

Location in Floorplan
Location in Elevation
Salet: Number 72: North aisle:
 North wall parallel to the fifth nave pier

Related Material

Click here to see other Vézelay capitals with New Testament subject matter

Click here for other Medieval depictions of this parable.


Salet, p. 190. 

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Created by J. Vadnal, August, 1998