Images of Medieval Art and Architecture

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

Nave: Historiated Capital 
The Meal of the Hermit Saints


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Subject Matter

On the front face of the capital, two bearded figures in short, hooded robes stand facing one another, each holding in both hands a large round loaf of bread. The bread is marked with a vertical crease (To indicate that the two are breaking it?) Below the loaf is piece of foliage (a bush?). There is also foliage above the saints and on the right and left faces of the capital.

Salet says that there are traces of polychrome on this capital

The two hermits , St. Anthony and St. Paul of the desert, sometimes are regarded as the prototype of Eastern and Western monasticism. In his Life of Saint Paul the Hermit (Section 7-11) , St. Jerome relates how St. Paul was fed by a raven which brought him a loaf of bread daily. One day, St. Anthony, another hermit saint, came to visit him. The raven miraculously brought a loaf of bread which was twice the usual size
Same subject matter in Narthex, Capital 13

Location within Floorplan Placement in Elevation

Salet: Number 75 

North side of nave. 
North wall 

Related Material

Click here to see other Vézelay capitals showing episodes from the Lives of Saints


Salet, p. 187. 

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Created by J. Vadnal, October, 1998