Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Capital with the Temptation of Jesus

ca. 1175–1200
North French
Overall: 10 5/8 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (27 x 29.8 x 29.8 cm) weight: 76lb. (34.5kg)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1921
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Probably originating from a cloister arcade, this capital depicts the temptations of Jesus. The narrative order is not sequential: the Devil tempts Jesus to change stones into bread; the Devil tempts Jesus with the kingdoms of the world; the Devil carries Jesus on his back to the top of the Temple; the Devil tempts Jesus to cast himself from the top of the Temple. The naturalism of the capital’s forms, the antique character of the fluid drapery defining the anatomy of the figures, and the lively narrative quality of the presentation are all hallmarks of the emerging Gothic style.
[ Demotte Inc., Paris and New York (sold 1921)]; [ Charles Dikran Kelekian, New York (sold 1921)]
Breck, Joseph. "A King of Judah and Other Mediaeval Sculptures." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 16, no. 3 (March 1921). pp. 50-51, fig. 2.

Adams, Lucy A. "The Temptations of Christ: The Iconography of a Twelfth-Century Capital in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Gesta 28, no. 2 (1989). pp. 130-135, fig. 1-4.

Wixom, William D. "Medieval Sculpture at the Metropolitan: 800 to 1400." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 62, no. 4 (2005). p. 3, 21.

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