medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

From: Marjorie Greene <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [M-R] saints of the day 14. November

> "An expandable view of a nave capital of ca. 1145 from this church, now in
the musée du Petit Palais at Avignon:
> This looks very much like the work of Gislebertus of Autun fame. 

no, it  doesn't.

you are perhaps judging by the "compositional" element --the dramatic
interjection of the angel from the corner of the scene. but suchlike drama is
characteristic of virtually all "Romanesque" narrative story telling.

ditto the superficial, anecdotal element of the hand to the face.

judging a "hand" at work requires a bit more than that.

for starters, there is not capital form at Autun (or anywhere else in
Burgundy, that i can think of) which look like this.

more telling, Gisle's fold treatment is a variation on the "plate drapery"
ubiquitous throughout Burgundy in the late 11th-early 12th c. --the folds are
conceived of as being more or less "flat" and plate-like, usually in catenated
clusters over legs and arms.

G. adds incised lines along the leading edges of his "plates" --which is a bit
unusual in Burgundian work (which is usually "Cluniac"), but by no means
unique to G.'s hand.

by contrast, the St. Ruf sculptor conceives of his folds as being much more
"plastic" --substantive-- and, essentially, tubular, with no "plates" and no
incised lines.

G. makes some use of the drill --some/most of his pupils are drilled-- but i
don't think we'll find much drilling in, say, the treatment of cuffs and
collars, much less in clouds or, even more telling, "unarticulated" drill
holes like the one between the angel's wing and the cloud or between the feet
of the reclining figure.  

and i can't think of an example of G. leaving a "raw" drill hole like the one
below the bed --on use of the drill was to remove stone from a place where the
relief would be taken down considerably, but leaving the clearly delineated
hole like that was, generally, a no-no.

the St. Ruf sculptor can be placed well within the traditions of Provencial
Romanesque, as can be easily seen from a stroll through Alan Borg's
_Architectural Sculpture in Romanesque Provence_ (OUP, 1972) --getting a bit
long in the tooth, i suppose (aren't we all??), but still a fundamental work.

>Anyone know about the alleged/supposed carver of this sculpture?

a safe guess is that nothing is known about him(?) save for what can be
deduced from his work --or from other works which can be connected with his by
careful, disciplined analysis of his style.


To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: