Portal from the Church of San Leonardo al Frigido

Artist: Workshop of Biduinus (Italian, active last quarter 12th century)

Date: ca. 1175

Geography: Made in Tuscany, Italy

Culture: Italian

Medium: Marble (Carrara marble)

Dimensions: 13 ft. 2 in. × 76 in. × 14 in. (401.3 × 193 × 35.6 cm)

Classification: Installations

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1962

Accession Number: 62.189


During the twelfth century, the exterior walls of churches and cathedrals in northern and central Italy were decorated with scenes from the Bible and the lives of local saints. Dedicated to Saint Leonard, the patron saint of prisoners, this portal served as the main entrance of the small Church of San Leonardo al Frigido in Tuscany. An antique sarcophagus was reused for the supporting jambs on the sides of the door; it was carved to show scenes of the Annunciation and the Visitation on the left and an image of Saint Leonard holding an emblematic prisoner on the right. The Entry into Jerusalem on the lintel is modeled after an Early Christian tomb relief, reflecting the revival of interest in late antique and early Christian art that occurred in Italy during the twelfth century. The doorway is ascribed to the workshop of Master Biduino, who worked in the Pisa-Lucca area.