Support Figure of a Seated Cleric or Friar, ca. 1280
Copper alloy with mercury gilding; 2 5/8 x 1 5/16 x 1 11/16 in. (6.7 x 3.4 x 4.3 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1991 (1991.252)
The pose of this figure, apparently bent under great weight, together with the indentation at the back suggest that it once served as a corner support, possibly of a large reliquary shrine in the form of a Gothic church. Wearing the cassock of a friar, this diminutive figure possesses a monumentality and plasticity that belie its small size. The crouching stance recalls the mid-thirteenth-century console figures from the west facade of Reims Cathedral as well as some of the figures beneath the frames of miniatures in the Book of Hours made for Jeanne d'Évreux, queen of France, also in The Cloisters Collection.