This finely carved head comes from the lintel of the north transept portal (Porte des Valois) of the abbey church, which depicted the martyrdom of Saint Denis, France's patron saint. Although the portal was carved 1160-70, it was erected in its present location in the thirteenth century. Parts of it were damaged in the wake of the French Revolution. The close stylistic resemblance to the column figure from the cloister (displayed nearby) suggests that both were products of the same workshop.
From the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis; Private Collection, Saint-Denis; [ Charles Rattonand Guy Ladrière, Paris]; [ Hôtel Drouot, Paris (sold to Les Enluminure ca. 1994)]; [ Les Enluminures, Paris (ca. 1994–sold 1999)]
Les Enluminures. Things: The Object Past and Present. Paris: Les Enluminures, 1998. no. 7, pp. 22-23.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1998-1999." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57, no. 2 (Fall 1999). p. 16.
Little, Charles T., ed. Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. New York, New Haven, and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. no. 5, pp. 29-30.