Amiens Cathedral West Facade - the 'Incarnation of Christ' Quatrefoils


The quatrefoils of the south portal contain an unsusual selection of scenes relating to the incarnation
and infancy of Christ. The selection and ordering of the scenes is a little unusual unless one considers
the jamb figures positioned above the quatrefoils, hence I have listed these in the grids below. Particularly
interesting from the iconographical viewpoint are the four prefigurations of the virgin birth (38 + 40) and the
rare scenes of the return of the Magi by sea and Herod's ordering of the destruction of the ships of Tarsus.
These obscure details and many others besides are discussed in detail in Marcia Rickard's excellent article
on "The Iconography of the Virgin Portal at Amiens", published in Gesta, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1983), pp.147-57.

To view any quatrefoil in detail, click on one of the thumbnail images below the plan. The 'next' and 'previous'
buttons on the detail pages follow a simple top to bottom / left to right order. To browse through all the quatrefoils, click here.

Scenes to the left of the south portal

Jamb figures:
(Queen of Sheba)
(Solomon) (Herod) (3rd Magus) (2nd Magus) (1st Magus)
24 - The feast of Solomon 26 - Solomon enthroned 28 - Massacre of the innocents 30 - Herod and his advisors 32 - Isaiah's prophecy of the adoration 34 - Balaam's prophecy of the adoration
24 - Solomon teaching Sheba 26 - Solomon adoring the Ark 28 - Herod orders the burning of the ships 30 - The burning of the ships of Tarsus 32 - The Magi escaping by sea 34 - The dream of the Magi

Scenes to the right of the south portal

(Annunciation; Gabriel) (Annunciation Virgin) (Visitation; Mary) (Visitation; Elizabeth) (Presentation; Mary) (Presentation; Simeon)
38 - 'stone not cut by human hands' - Nebuchadnezzar 40 - Gideon sees the dew-drenched fleece. 42 - Annunciation to Zachariah 44 - Zachariah and the people 46 - Flight into Egypt 48 - Fall of the idols of Hermopolis
38 - Moses and the burning bush 40 - Aaron with the flowering staff 42 - Nativity of John the Baptist 44 - The naming of the Baptist 46 - Christ among the doctors 48 - The return from Egypt