Impost Block with Acanthus Decoration, Limestone, French

Impost Block with Acanthus Decoration

12th century
Made in Saint-Denis, Ile-de-France, France
Overall: 20 1/4 x 25 x 15 3/8 in. (51.4 x 63.5 x 39.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 03
This capital resembles sculpture in the crypt of the royal abbey of Saint-Denis, north of Paris. As the burial place of French kings, Saint-Denis enjoyed unrivaled prestige; artistic innovations adopted there resonated throughout the region and indeed, throughout France. The choir of the abbey constructed under Abbot Suger is often considered the first example of a new architectural style, known today as Gothic. In the wake of the French Revolution, sculpture and building materials from a number of monuments were sent to Saint-Denis for storage; this piece may, therefore, come from another church in the area.
Probably from the royal abbey of Saint-Denis ; [ Demotte, Inc., Paris (sold 1913)]
Cahn, Walter. "Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections. XVI. The Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athyn, Pa.." Gesta 16, no. 2 (1977). p. 74.

Little, Charles T., William D. Wixom, and Jane Hayward. The Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis in The Time of Abbot Suger (1122-1151). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981. no. 8, pp. 55, 57.

Smith, Elizabeth Bradford, ed. Medieval Art in America: Patterns of Collecting, 1800–1940. University Park, Pa.: Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, 1996. pp. 228–29.