Arts of Europe

RomanCapital

Romanesque capital (c. 1150–1200 CE)
France
Marble
16 x 19 x 12 inches
Art Acquisition Fund 1990-1-1

The many stone churches built in the twelfth century provided special opportunities for sculpture. Even structural units, such as the capitals of shafts or columns, became elaborate fields of sculptural design that often told stories with human or animal subjects. European stonecarvers who lived in former provinces of the Roman empire could be inspired by ancient models, yet Roman carving seldom displays the whimsy characteristic of much of the sculpture and painting we call Romanesque. In making the Krannert capital, the carver has used the coarse, local marbles of southwestern France to create a delicate symmetry of birds and vines.



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