Portion of a Pilaster with an Acrobat

Date: ca. 1150–70

Geography: Made in Lyonnais, France

Culture: French

Medium: Limestone

Dimensions: Overall: 12 3/4 x 9 in. (32.4 x 22.9 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Architectural

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1947

Accession Number: 47.101.25


Carved on the corner of what appears to have been the capital from a pilaster (projecting pier), a youthful acrobat contorts his body into a reverse arc. As if springing out from an acanthus background, the acrobat clutches his ankle with his chin touching the ground. Musicians and acrobats often appear in manuscripts and sculptures of the eleventh and twelfth century, amusing reminders of the world beyond the walls of the church or monastery.