(active 1130s at Vézelay)

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Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, Vézelay

The intricate iconography of the sculptured portals at Vézelay in Burgundy, which are generally dated to the 1130s, has been ascribed to Peter the Venerable, an influential theologian and abbot of Cluny, to which Vézelay was affiliated, from 1122 to 1156. It conflates three main themes: Christ's ascension; the Pentecost, when the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire; and Christ's mission of evangelism to the apostles. The tympanum shown in the picture represents Pentecost and Christ's mission to the apostles.

The iconography is derived not only from the Bible, but also from a wide range of texts, including the writings of the Church Fathers, as well as those of classical and early Christian authors such as Pliny and Isidore of Seville.The works of all these authors would have been available to Peter the Venerable in the library at Cluny.