Capital with the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (from Saint-Guilhem Cloister)
late 12th–early 13th century
Made in Languedoc, France
Overall: 11 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 5/8 in. (29.2 x 24.1 x 24.4 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1925
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 3
The series of capitals, abaci, shafts, and engaged piers incorporated into this cloister come from the upper story of the cloister of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, near Montpellier. An important stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the cloister was constructed in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century-in any case, before 1206. Abandoned during the French Revolution, the abbey fell into ruin. The carving is notable for the skillful use of the drill and the deep undercutting. Many of the capitals are based on classical models. In addition to the many examples with carefully observed foliate decoration, the capital representing standing saints and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple is of particular interest but is possibly not from Saint-Guilhem. The limestone capital in the center (25.120.246), recut as a font, dates from the late eleventh century and comes from the Auvergne or the Guyenne region of France.
From the abbey church of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, near Montpellier; George Grey Barnard American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York, New York (until 1925) ; Pierre-Yvon Verniere, Aniane, France