Title of Work
West Facade, Capital Frieze- Life of the Virgin
Title of Image
Scene 16 The three Magi before Herod
Date
c. 1145
Description
West Façade, Left Frieze, Life of Mary and Infancy of Christ, Left Side of Central Portal
16: The Three Magi before Herod
(Matthew 2:1-8, Protevangelium of James 21:1-2)
The scene is depicted on two perpendicular faces of a capital. Herod (crowned, holding a scepter, bearded) sits at center where the two faces meet. On the right are two bearded figures - one holds and points to a book or tablet. Probably they are the "chief priests and the scribes" referred to in Matthew 2:4-6 whom Herod summoned to learn about Old Testament prophecies concerning the birthplace of Christ.
At left stand the Magi, holding staffs (to indicate they have been traveling?). The two figures nearest Herod are headless. One has his hands on Herod's thigh. The leftmost of the Magi is bearded and wears a round hat (a crown?).
The placement of Herod not only makes his figure very prominent, but allows him to participate in both scenes. It also echoes his position in the corner in Scene 20 - the Massacre of the Innocents.
At right are figures from:
15: The Annunciation to the Shepherds.
At left are figures from:
17: The Horses of the Magi Attended by a Boy.
18: The Adoration of the Magi
Country
France
Location
Chartres
Style
Gothic
Type of Work
Sculpture
Subtype of Work
Capital Frieze
Material
Stone
Subject
Cathédrale de Chartres--Pictorial works.;Church decoration and ornament--France--Chartres--Pictorial works.;Church architecture--France--Chartres--Pictorial works.;Christian art and symbolism--France--Chartres--Medieval, 500-1500--Pictorial works.
Bibliography
Photographer
Philip Maye
Copyright
Identifier
FCSP18116100
MEDART Website

Chartres: Cathedral of Notre-Dame

Scene 16 The three Magi before Herod

(FCSP18116100)
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