N E W S

North Side - N5B6

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Flight into Egypt

The series of narrative capitals concerning Mary and the infancy of Christ ends with the Flight into Egypt, an episode mentioned only in the gospel of Matthew, which begins with capital N2B3 and extends over four capitals.

On the west and south sides the dream of Joseph is portrayed, in which he receives the instructions from the angel to flee into Egypt, in order to protect the mother and child from King Herod. On the east side of the capital Joseph, carrying his bags on his shoulder, leads the donkey by the reins, which bears Mary and the Christ child.

Robert Berton maintains that the representation of this capital is identical with those found on the capitals in Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire (formerly Abbey church, c. 1080) and Autun (Saint-Lazare, formerly choir capital, 1130/1135). Actually, the Flight in Egypt can still be found in other sites in France, Spain, and Italy – so, for example, in the Burgundian town of Saulieu (Saint-Andoche, 1130/1150), in the parish church of Rucqueville in Normandy (c. 1100), in the Aragonese town of Uncastillo (Santa Maria), in Huesca (formerly San Pedro el Viejo), in Sanguessa (Santa Maria la Real) in Navarra, all dated between 1130 and 1170, or in the capital originating from Como, which today is conserved in the Museo Civico and is dated to the late 12th century.