Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Corbel with Five Interlaced Hair–Pulling Acrobats, second half of 12th century
    Aquitaine, France
    Limestone; 32 x 15 3/8 x 18 1/2 in. (81.3 x 39.1 x 47 cm)
    Gift of George Blumenthal, 1934 (34.21.2)

    This corbel, decorated with acrobatically intertwined figures pulling at one another’s hair, was part of an ensemble at the Benedictine monastery of Notre-Dame-de-la-Grande-Sauver. Embellished with a wide range of patterns and motifs, each corbel once supported an exterior cornice, a horizontal projection at the roofline of the twelfth-century church. Many are still at the abbey; others are in different French and American collections. As a group, the corbels reveal a preference for acanthus leaves and figures with stylized anatomy and hair. Several display mischievous activities, and a few are even sexually suggestive, perhaps an allusion to humanity’s inner demons and licentious fantasies. Corbels like these enjoyed a lasting popularity and can be found on the exterior of many medieval churches.

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    On view at The Cloisers: Gallery 003
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  • Corbel with Five Interlaced Hair-Pulling Acrobats, second half of 12th century
    Aquitaine, France
    Limestone; 32 x 15 3/8 x 18 1/2 in. (81.3 x 39.1 x 47 cm)
    Gift of George Blumenthal, 1934 (34.21.2)

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