This paper focuses on the material aspects of food consumption that lie behind the sculptured facade of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine Church in Neuilly-en-Donjon. I propose a new reading that interprets the main scenes as engaging with food consumption, while centering on female figures and connecting them with the sin of gluttony. This reading perceives Eve as representing Original Sin as well as the sin of gluttony, and the Virgin as representing the Eucharist. The two figures constitute the two poles of the same phenomenon of engaging with food, with the midway point represented by Mary Magdalene, who represent the act of fasting between sin and redemption. Thus the approach to food consumption, in the form of the Eucharist or in fasting, and as anchored in the liturgical calendar, becomes an active agent of the Church’s control of its congregants.
The European monarchies in the 14th century developed their power and authority over the traditional feudal states such as nobility and clergy. This monarchical rise was connected with the growth of the nationalism in Europe. The rulers presented themselves as the unquestionable head of these emerging nations. In this context, the civil architecture became one of the most effective sources to boost the political ideals of the sovereigns. The monarchs of different kingdoms, such as Castile, England or the Empire, promoted architectonical projects to highlight their authority over their population. Architectonical projects materialised however, in different styles, from gothic to Islamic.