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Photo of Vézelay Abbey (Basilique Ste-Madeleine)

Capital: The Mystic Mill

The "Mystic Mill," probably the highest quality and most interesting of the Romanesque capitals in Vezelay Basilica, dating from c.1120-32. The highly symbolic scene shows Moses puring grain (the Old Testament) into a mill (Christ), which produces flour (the New Testament) that the Apostle Paul solemnly collects in a sack. Located in the south aisle, it takes full advantage of the light streaming in the window: Moses is in the dark while Paul is in the light, and the cross-shaped wheel of the mill is turned slightly to catch the ray of sun. This theme was also depicted in a stained glass window at Saint-Denis under Abbot Suger.

Photo © Holly Hayes.

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