FOURTEEN STRIKING FIGURES OF LUXURIA.
Luxuria has been wantonly mis-translated into English as Lust,
Capital of the richly-decorated nave.
2. Ôo (Haute-Garonne)
Copy of bas-relief from the rustic parish church, now in the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse.
3. Octogone, Montmorillon (Vienne)
photo by Tina Negus
4. Church of Saint-Hilaire, Melle (Deux-Sèvres): a very eroded figure with hands clasped in prayer between two suckling snakes.
5. Väte (Gotland), Sweden: this figure suckles two large snakes,
while a toad and an asp are looking for nipples in her armpits: the sign of a witch.
This is truly a 'Witch on the Wall'.
photo by Kjartan Hauglid
...while a toad also tries to insert itself into her vagina.
She grips her palms in pain and horror, while her face contorts in the agony of the damned.
for more details of Moissac click here.
Stylistically related are these fragments at Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne (Corrèze),
photographed by Adrian
The rich man is being ridden into Hell by a devil.
The figure on the left may be Gluttony, having 'licked the platter clean'.
7. Limalonges (Charente-Maritime)
10. A rare tongue-sticking, mouth-pulling, Gorgon-like Luxuria on a cloister capital at Tarragona, Spain.
11. A corbel on the basilica of San Isidoro (León) emphasises breasts in a rather baroque - and modern - way,
suggesting inspiration from representations of Terra.
12. A corbel on the church of Lomilla de Aguilar (Palencia), which, like the broken corbel at Archingeay,
directly connects the motif of Luxuria with that of the Exhibitionist.
13. A font at Rebanal de las Llantas (Palencia)
MORE PHOTOS ON FLICKR >
See a remote and rustic exhibitionist interpretation of Luxuria in Ireland >
and interpretations and variations on the theme in rural Denmark >
The most shocking depiction of Luxuria, however, depicts her without snakes >
while another shows her clothed and tormented 'only' by demons:
St-Papoul (Aude) : capital attributed to 'The Master of Cabestany'.
I wonder if the Latin word Luxuria derives
from Lux (light):
luxury as emancipation from living as a slave in the cellar,
or in a dark hovel in a Roman or Neapolitan slum...?
A fourteenth century illustration of Luxuria/Avaritia in hell
(note that both are crowned)
with Luxuria/Vanitas about to join them.
(Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 22913, detail of folio370r.
Augustine, De Civitate Dei in the French translation of Raoul de Presles (Books XI-XXII). 1370-1380)
Music, Luxury and a devil holding a sandglass - 16th century.
(Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Guelf. A Aug. 2°, detail of folio 347.
Septem missae solemnes cum notis musicis, 1520.)
By the Renaissance,
the theme of Luxury had advanced with the times,
become more detailed and at the same time secular,
with a cherub in attendance.
Death, the final boundary -
Engraving made by Sebald Beham after Barthel Beham.