N E W L S

North Side - N8Sh7

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Dives and Lazarus

The parable of the rich man and the leper Lazarus is recounted in four episodes and is accompanied by a narrative inscription that runs along the impost block: + O DIVES DIVES / NON MVLTO TEMPORE VIVES / FAC BENE DVM VI / VIS POST PORTEM VIVERE SI VIS.
The scenes from this story from the Gospel of Luke develop in counter-clockwise order around the capital, beginning on the narrow side facing the entrance. The rich man and his wife enjoy a sumptuous feast set underneath a canopy while a servant is sent to chase the begging Lazarus away from the door. Two dogs lick the wounds of this poor man, who is obviously suffering from both hunger and illness. The next scene to the left shows the rich man on his deathbed, surrounded by mourners with a holy man underneath whose open book bears the inscription: ORE MVS (…) QVI (…) BE ATE M.
In contrast the narrow side of the capital facing the interior courtyard shows the death of Lazarus, whose soul is carried aloft by an angel. The two following scenes are found on the west side of the historiated capital. While the soul of the poor man approaches heaven securely in the bosom of Abraham, the rich man must atone for his sins in the fires of Hell.
Compared with other pictorial themes found in sculpture of medieval cloisters, the parable of Lazarus is particularly uncommon. Other examples of it are found in Hildesheim (on a bronze pillar) and in France at Vézélay and Moissac.