One of the finest sculptures to be found at the Église Saint-Étienne in Lubersac is the capital showing the death of Jesus. Christ on the cross is flanked by two standing figures. On the right, the vinegar is offered for Jesus to drink. This act is described in John 19:28:
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 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.
On the left, the Roman soldier pierces his side with a lance told in John 19:33:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Of particular interest are the figures on either side of the cross, at the right and left hand of Jesus. These represent the thieves crucified with him on Golgotha. Note the sunburst around the head of the thief at Christ’s right hand – certainly this signifies the penitent thief.
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.