Béziers Jesus

#1
Here is a Jesus that resembles the Viéville and the Noblet/Dodal types, from the Church of St. Jacques (James) in my town of Béziers. I couldn't find a date anywhere on the retable (which I think is the right name for it, behind the altar against the east wall, used for keeping the reserve host (the keyhole is beside Jesus here)), so my best guess is not earlier than the 17th century, with a round number of c. 1700. I guess the latest it could be is 1800.

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Ross
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Re: Béziers Jesus

#2
That's a great find Ross!!!

Here is the Vieville, Noblet, and Dodal for comparison:
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The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Béziers Jesus

#3
Here are the other carvings on the retable - I don't know what story they might be telling, but it could be that this was offered to the Church as a votive after some miracle, perhaps shown by the brothers entering the burning building on the first panel.

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So seven images in all, left to right -

1. Two monks, one enters a burning building.

2. Evangelist John

3. Evangelist Luke

4. Jesus

5. Evangelist Mark (presumably)

6. Evangelist Matthew

7. Charity (possibly alludes to a rescue)

(I'm sorry the pictures don't fit on the screen, but if you go to the URL you'll get the full images)
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Re: Béziers Jesus

#5
I can't help but ponder the two end carvings with the monks. The one to the far left reminds me of the 'Harrowing of Hell' or 'Christ in Limbo' motif.


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Are the brothers relieving the suffering of those in limbo or purgatory by their good works?

Could the carving on the far right be 'The Ship of Salvation' that is Christ? Doesn't really explain the 'charity' though, does it?

Maybe the ship is the 'Flying Dutchman' - which will sail until Judgement Day? ;)
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Béziers Jesus

#6
R.A. Hendley wrote:I can't help but ponder the two end carvings with the monks. The one to the far left reminds me of the 'Harrowing of Hell' or 'Christ in Limbo' motif.


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Yes, I thought the same thing too, it very much reminds me of the harrowing. Of course, it isn't Christ rescuing the souls, so almost certainly not the harrowing after all. Maybe it means that the monks are rescuing those in purgatory by their chants or something?

I found this image which shows the extremely prominent place that the retable sits in the church:



Indeed, surrounded by the four evangelists, in the centre, behind the altar, I think it is very likely that we see an image of Christ here, a very unusual one, one that matches very well to the Tarot de Marseille I. Another option that makes sense to me, considering the name of the church, might be St. James; but I think Christ is more compelling.

We really need to learn more about this retable, the story being told on the panels would be very interesting to know.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Béziers Jesus

#8
And what is the plant he is holding? A reed (it looks like a bullrush)?



I'll bet this Jesus is a very specific iconographical tradition, "the giver of life" or something, which if we could locate it might give us one with a leafy loincloth.
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Re: Béziers Jesus

#10
That's possible too - I just wonder about there being only one "flower" at the end.

It has to mean something, that's for sure.

I'm confident there is a tradition for this image/style of Jesus, and it must be present in other places in the south of France, perhaps more towards Avignon, Marseille, Aix and even further east in Piemont.
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