Capital: Flight into Egypt
Photo © Holly Hayes / Art History Images. All rights reserved.

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.