French; From the abbey of Saint-Denis
H. 45 1/4 in. (115 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1920 (20.157)
The royal abbey of Saint-Denis, in 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 (112251), the west facade and east end of the abbey were 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, constructed shortly after the death of Abbot Suger. 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.