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Column Statue of a King

Date:
ca. 1150–60
Geography:
Made in Saint-Denis
Culture:
French
Medium:
Limestone
Dimensions:
Overall: 45 1/2 x 9 x 9 1/2 in. (115.6 x 22.9 x 24.1 cm) weight: 155lb. (70.3kg)
Classification:
Sculpture-Stone
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1920
Accession Number:
20.157
  • Description

    The royal abbey of Saint-Denis, now a suburb of Paris, housed the shrine of the national saint, possessed many of the regalia of the kings of France, and served as their burial site. Under the energetic Abbot Suger (1122–1151), the early abbey was rebuilt in a new style hailed in the Middle Ages as "the French style" and subsequently called Gothic. This column figure of an Old Testament king is the only complete statue to survive from the now destroyed cloister, originally constructed shortly after the death of Abbot Suger. A new pictorial approach to sculpture is evident in this carving: the standing figure is integral to the cylindrical column. The bejeweled crown and nimbus distinguish the royal and saintly nature of the figure. His identity may once have been inscribed upon the scroll that he holds, now broken.

  • Provenance

    From the cloister of the royal abbey of Saint-Denis, France.; marquis de Migieu, Savigny-les-Beaune (about 1771?); vicomte de Vaulchier ; [ Dealer, Versailles (?)]; [ Alphonse Kann (1870–1948), Paris (sold 1920)]

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
466311

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