Crucifixion scene – Amuse Bouche #26 (Dennis Aubrey)


Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

John 19:29-30 (King James Version)

The church of Saint-Étienne in Lubersac has a selection of interesting capitals, but the most expressive is this version of the Crucifixion. Jesus is depicted on the cross accompanied by figures representing two passages from the Gospel of John. the “disciple whom Jesus loved”.

The first is John 19:29-30 quoted above. On the right hand side the figure holds a sponge on a stick that has been moistened with the vinegar from the bucket. This is given to Jesus at the moment of his death. Jesus’ eyes are wide open in the moment of realization that his death was imminent and the scripture would be fulfilled.

Capital - Crucifixion, Église Saint-Étienne, Lubersac (Corrèze)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Capital – Crucifixion, Église Saint-Étienne, Lubersac (Corrèze) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

The second passage illustrates John 19:34; But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. The soldier pierces Jesus’ side with a spear to ensure that he is dead and that his legs need not be broken. Water and blood pour from the wound that the resurrected Christ will show to Thomas. This capital is beautifully sculpted and in excellent condition, marred only by the missing feet of Jesus. The detailing on the cross itself is unique.

It is probably inappropriate to refer to a crucifixion scene as an amuse-bouche, but the title refers to the presentation, not the content.

This is part of a series of posts featuring an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer to whet the appetite of diners. Each of these will explore a single interesting feature of medieval architecture or sculpture. To see other amuse-bouches, follow this link.

11 responses to “Crucifixion scene – Amuse Bouche #26 (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Pingback: Crucifixion scene – Amuse Bouche #26 (Dennis Aubrey) | skypblog

  2. What a beautifully expressive carving. There are many painted scenes of the crucifixion but to me (perhaps the three-dimensionality) this rendition brings so much more emotion to the tragic scene. Thank you.

    • Kalli, agree with you. It wasn’t until I chose this scene to write about that PJ and I realized how few capitals show the crucifixion (although it is a more well-known subject in tympana.)

  3. Unusual and moving carving.

    I particularly wonder what are the roundels above the arms of the cross – I presume the sun over his right hand, what over his left? And have you an interpretation of their meaning? Thank you (and viewers) for any thoughts.

  4. very emotional- the blood and water significant and also a sign of a broken heart..i agree w above abt the 3-dimenionality of the crucified Christ..whoa-need to breathe after looking at this scene,kml

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