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Monthly Archives: March 2012

from the 12th Century in the Cathédral de Saint Etienne, Auxerre, France

Jesus on Horseback, a unique frseco in the Cathédral de Saint Etienne in Auxerre, France, end 11th century

Jesus Christ rides a white horse in the extended amble. His right hand holds a staff, his left hand is kept in a high position in a waving gesture, or to hold the invisible reins (as in Western style). No stirrups, conform to the situation in his own time. The hooves are shod, which is not conform to that time. A white horse usually stands for majesty and it is not illogical that the artist of this wallpainting has given Jesus Christ an impressive white horse, but nevertheless highly unusual. Christ is always represented on a donkey because of his humble status in the world, but this artist dared to be different. Around Christ four angels ride also white horses and form a quadrille. They are not visible on this picture. These horses also show the amble but are less elegant. The angels have extended wings and spread their arms, as an impressive escort of Christ. This scene most likely represents the final victory of Jesus Christ at the end of our time. Other interpretations are an illustration of Apocalyps 19.11, or the entry in Jerusalem. See also Robineau et Boissy, Peintures murales des églises de l’Yonne, Joigny 1999, p.34.