France, Champagne, Châlons-sur-Marne, Church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux (?)
Overall: 14 x 11 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (35.6 x 29.8 x 34.9 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1913 (13.152.2)
The comical effect of the muttonchop whiskers, bulbous nose, enormous eyes, and open mouth of this grotesque head demonstrate the extreme expressions found in marginal sculpture. The head resembles others on corbels supporting the roof cornice of one of the principal churches in Châlons-sur-Marne. The bold features, part of a visual language specific to medieval buildings, are intended to be seen from a distance. Recent research on marginalia suggests that such bizarre heads may have served an apotropaic function.