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Cloister from Bonnefont-en-Comminges

Date:
late 13th or early 14th century
Geography:
Made in Pyrénées-Aquintaine, France
Culture:
French
Medium:
Marble
Dimensions:
Overall: 54 ft. 3 in. x 49 ft. (1,660 x 1,490 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Architectural
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1925
Accession Number:
25.120.531–.1052
  • Description

    Bonnefont-en-Comminges, a Cistercian abbey, was founded in 1136 by monks from Morimond in Burgundy. The carving style of the twenty-one double capitals from its cloister installed in the Museum is comparable to that found in late-thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century cloisters in nearby Toulouse. The designs fall loosely into two groups: those with bulbous curled leaves and those with flattened foliage (below). During the French Revolution the abbey archives were burned and its buildings demolished, and many Bonnefont elements eventually found their way into the homes of local residents. The extent of the dispersal is attested by the manner in which the Bonnefont fragments entered the Museum: partly donated by J.P. Morgan (1916) and partly purchased from George Grey Barnard (1925) and Joseph Brummer (1944).

    Not copied after any specific model, the layout of the Bonnefont Cloister garden approximates that of a medieval herb garden, with raised beds bordered by bricks and wattle fences. Grouped and labeled according to their medieval usage (e.g., medicinal, culinary, magic, household), all of the plants grown in the garden are species documented in medieval sources, such as the ninth-century Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperialibus (Directive for the Administration of Imperial Courts). Of particular interest are the plants used by medieval artists, including those providing pigments for manuscript painting and textile dyeing.

  • Provenance

    From the Cistercian abbey at Bonnefont-en-Comminges and other nearby monasteries; George Grey Barnard American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York , New York (until 1925)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
474091

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