Title of Work
West Facade, Capital Frieze, Ministry and Passion of Christ
Title of Image
Scenes 25-7
c. 1145
West Façade, Right Frieze, Life of Christ, Right Side of Central Portal
This image shows several scenes. From the left:
25: John the Baptist Meditating
(Luke 2:51)
Heimann identifies this as “John the Baptist Meditating in the Wilderness,” and points out its similarity to a scene in the Bible Moralisée, MS. Harley 1527, fol. 24v (Heimann, p. 83.) A beardless figure sits in a chair with a curved back. Its head is resting on one hand while its other hand clasps its thigh. Its eyes appear to be closed.
Perhaps it is Mary “keep[ing] all these words in her heart” after returning from Jerusalem in the previous scene (Luke 2:51) - JV
There is no direct reference to John meditating before his ministry in the Gospels. There is a description of what he ate; this and his clothing may be what are shown in the cited miniature. The sculptor may have simplified this scene due to space. - PM
26: Baptism of Christ
(Matthew 3:13-6, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34)
The three leftmost figures in this scene are headless, though traces of halos can be seen for all of them. At left stands John the Baptist, gesturing toward Christ who stands frontally at center. He is nude and the waters of the Jordan River are gathered up around his lower body. At right stand two figures that Heimann describes as “two angels holding Christ’s garments” (Heimann, p. 84); the two figures face two directions at the capital’s outer corner.
Compare with similar scene in Panel 21 of The Infancy of Christ Window
(Delaporte no. 2, Deremble-Mahnes no. 50) in the West Facade and the upper panel of The Life of John the Baptist Window (Deremble-Mahnes no. 106, Delaporte no. 117) in the South Choir Clerestory.
27: Temptation of Christ
(Matthew 4:1-11)
Christ stands at left (with cruciform nimbus). He gestures toward the devil with his right hand. To the right is a short figure of Satan, with a round head, bulbous nose, and large, sharp teeth. He has a mustache and sparse hair. Behind Satan are damaged wings, a vestige of fallen angels.
It is unclear which of the three temptations of Christ is portrayed in this scene - Heimann suggests it is the First Temptation (Heimann, p. 84).
Compare with scenes in The Temptations of Christ Window (Delaporte no. 174, Deremble-Mahnes no. 141b) and The Belle Verrière Window (Delaporte no. 14, Deremble-Mahnes no. 30a).
At left are figures from:
24: Unidentified Scene (Mary and Joseph Taking Jesus Home?).
At right are figures from:
28: The First Two Disciples (?).
Type of Work
Subtype of Work
Capital Frieze
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.
Philip Maye
MEDART Website

Chartres: Cathedral of Notre-Dame

Scenes 25-7