The falling idols

The story of the falling idols comes from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, v 23:
And it came to pass, when the most blessed Mary went into the temple with the little child, that all the idols prostrated themselves on the ground, so that all of them were lying on their faces shattered and broken to pieces; and thus they plainly showed that they were nothing. Then was fulfilled that which was said by the prophet Isaiah: Behold, the Lord will come upon a swift cloud, and will enter Egypt, and all the handiwork of the Egyptians shall be moved at His presence.
             It is also mentioned in The Golden Legend.     
     Melchior Broderlam has his idol tumbling from a tasteful pink column, while the wonderful fresco from the Decani Monastery shows distinctly suicidal idols.  Two of the most interesting versions come from England, though the Bedford master was actually French. This is a fifteenth century image: much earlier is the wall painting from Brook Church, in Kent, dating from around 1250 and reproduced here by kind permission of Anne Marshall whose website,,  is a remarkable labour of love and a fascinating resource.


Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon

Fresco, Decani Monastery, Kosovo

Wall painting, Brook Church, Kent, U.K.
(C 1260)

From The Bedford Hours
British Museum

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