|Monet, 1893 - image from Wikipeda|
painting in Musee d'Orsay (which we saw on this trip!)
I wasn't sure what this image could represent and first wrote this post just describing it. I found it on a tympanum - the area over a cathedral entrance. But, then I realized there is a HEAD in the bowl that the servant is giving the queen (who is dressed richly and wearing a crown)! And, I knew what Biblical story it was portraying: the beheading of John the Baptist. Here it is from Matthew 14:6-11:
- But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
This scene is of Jesse's tree, a familiar site in art. It depicts the ancestors of Jesus and is from Isaiah 11:1: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
I am standing in front of the nave - the main long portion of the cathedral where worshipers sit (though I think they used to stand). The vaulted ceiling is high above me and it's incredible to stand in these amazing structures.
Most cathedrals are built with a floorplan like a cross (or letter "t"). The long part is the nave, while the shorter part is the transept. This is the vaulted ceiling where the two parts cross.
Looking away from the apse (where the preaching would take place) towards the door I entered in through. You can see the pipes from the pipe organ and the rose window. You can also see the 3 layers of arches as you start from the floor and go upwards: arcade (lowest), triforium (middle), and clerstory (highest).