The story of the falling idols comes from the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, v
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, www.paintedchurch.org,
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.
From The Bedford Hours