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Photo of Saulieu Church

Capital: Flight into Egypt

Carved capital on the fourth pier from the west in the south arcade, depicting the Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). The most exquisitely carved capital at Saulieu, it centers on Mary and the baby Jesus on the back of a donkey. She and the donkey are looking in front of them, down the road, but her body faces the viewer. She is seated on the donkey like a throne, with her legs supported on a small platform. On the left face of the capital (shown here), Joseph leads the donkey. Each of the donkey's four hoofs stand on a wheel, an intriguing symbolic element. One interpretation is that they represent the wrath of Herod (since wheels represented wrath in ancient times), which the Holy Family is fleeing but also treading underfoot.

Photo © Holly Hayes.

license this photo at Art History Images