Support Figure of a Seated Cleric or Friar

Date: ca. 1280

Geography: Made in Reims(?), France

Culture: French

Medium: Copper alloy with mercury gilding

Dimensions: Overall: 2 5/8 x 1 5/16 x 1 11/16in. (6.7 x 3.4 x 4.3cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper alloy

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1991

Accession Number: 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'Evreux, queen of France, also in The Cloisters Collection.