Abbey at Vézelay Art Deco Bronze Medal of Vézelay Tympanum 8.2 cm Diameter Circa 1920, Beautiful Condition, Weight 200 grams
This beautiful bronze medal is signed by the artist but in such a place that I have been unable to read it.
It depicts the central portion of the tympanum of the Abbey at Vézelay which is a Benedictine and Cluniac monastery in Vézelay in the Yonne department in northern Burgundy, France. The Benedictine abbey church, now the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Saint Mary Magdalene), with its complicated program of imagery in sculpted capitals and portals, is one of the outstanding masterpieces of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture.
The abbey was founded sometime in the 6th century so it has stood in various forms for over 1500 years.
The tympanum was completed in 1130. Fifteen years after its completion, Bernard of Clairvaux chose Vézelay as the place from which he would call for a Second Crusade. Vézelay was even the staging point for the Third Crusade. It is there that King Richard the Lionheart of England and King Philip Augustus of France met and joined their armies for a combined western invasion of the holy land. It is appropriate, therefore, that Vézelay's portal reflect its place in the history of the crusades.
The central tympanum shows a benevolent Christ conveying his message to the Apostles, who flank him on either side and this is depicted on the face of this beautiful bronze.
On the reverse it shows the abbey sitting on the hill above the medieval town.
The abbey became a basilica in 1920 and I believe that was when this medal was struck.