medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
From: John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>
> On Saturday, January 15, 2005, at 10:02 am, chris crockett wrote:
>> nice example of re-used "spolia" in the form of Roman(?) columns
and iconic capitals :
for some reason that last url doesn't want to open on its own.
it is a blow-up of the "S. Felice", second row of thumbnails, on the left here
expand the image if it opens in a small window to get the best detail.
> Or perhaps ironic.
well, there's no doubt that calling them "iconic" is ironic.
so, what's the problem?
>I'm not really up on these Orders of Meaning.
that's o.k., just follow my lead.
> I assume that the columns _are_ Roman.
i did, on the basis that they appear to be quite finely executed, even though
the Romans didn't do all that many ironic (or even) iconic capitals --not
their favorite Order, apparently.
the center capital has particularly well-made volutes, and the eggs-and-darts
between them looks pretty competently made. the capital on the left is a bit
funky, perhaps from damage, hard to tell at this distance in time and space.
in any event, i assume that we're too far from Ironica itself for them to be
>This part of the complex dates from the fourth to the sixth century.
yes, and i severly doubt that those years could have seen the production of
such fine and subtle caps --in a by-then forgotten Order.
the quality of work ca. 400-500 can be seen in the other Cornishean caps here
although those too are probably spolia --can't tell at that layer of detail--
and the 5-6th c. work is surely represented here
http://xoomer.virgilio.it/panorami/cartellina/193.jpg (the last thumbnail on
the lower right on the main page, if it doesn't open alone)
now, *those* are definitely "sub-antique" or "late antique" capitals --*and*
columns. almost "Merovingian" in appearance.
a very, very far cry from the iconic ones in the first shot, complete with
their magnificent marbled columns.
>Its architectural history is, er, complex.
yes, i was wondering what was going on, from the various .jpgs on that page
Here's a distance shot of the tomb area inside the basilica:
i assumed, for a moment, that the ruins were housed within a modern building,
but see now that that is not the case.
tomb structures within larger churches are, of course, common enough (though
not nearly as common as they were before the modren sport of destroying them
took hold), but this is by far the largest one i've ever seen.
usually they are "miniature architecture", much more modest in size.
the earliest one i know of in France is the "Tomb of St. Lazare" in the
collegial church of the same name in Autun, destroyed in the "Enlightenment"
bottom of page, two of the sculpted figures, half life size, from an ensemble
which was arranged around a structure representing the tomb of the saint.
"(33) For a reconstruction, see Giles Rollier, "Essai de reconstitution du
Tombeau: résultats et limites," Le Tombeau de Saint Lazare et la sculpture
romane à Autun après Gislebertus, exhibition at the Musée Rolin 8 June- 15
September 1985 (Autun: 1987(?)). Excavations in the choir area of Saint-Lazare
conducted by Walter Berry in 1991 and early 1992 have brought to light many
more fragments and has somewhat modified Rollier's reconstruction; paper given
by Walter Berry at the CAA annual meeting in Chicago, February 1992."
a footnote from Menott Kerr's fine thesis on Paray-le-Monial :
"Autun, by the end of the twelfth century, had a walk-through shrine with a
tableau of nearly half life-size figures. (Note 33)"
i thought that i had seen a reconstruction of the whole ensemble on the web
somewhere, but can't seem to find it now.
> Cimitile's name derives from _coemeterium_ (cemetery), which is what
this place was before Paulinus and his wife Therasia turned it into a
monastic center. Some of the spolia could be from disused ancient
structures in the immediate vicinity. The larger pieces could have come
from anywhere in the region: Paulinus had been governor of Campania and
presumably knew where to obtain such things.
yes, the Early Christians had a great appreciation for these types of items
and loved to "reuse" them.
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