The chapter house was the daily meeting place in most European monasteries and convents. The monks or nuns sat on the stone bench around the walls, as business was discussed each day and a chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict, the official code of monastic behavior, was read. The location next to Cuxa Cloister preserves the relationship of the chapter house to the cloisters in a typical medieval monastic plan. The architecture of the chapter house features typical Romanesque characteristics, notably the rounded arches, thick walls, small windows, and heavy rib vaults. The abbey at Pontaut, founded in 1115 as a Benedictine monastery, housed a Cistercian community after 1151. The abbey was damaged during religious wars of the sixteenth century. In 1791, the monastic buildings were sold to a local family, and the chapter house was converted into a stable; it was sold in 1932 and brought to New York. The plastered vaults and the floor tiles of the reconstructed chapter house are modern.
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View #3: interior, showing south wall
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Title:Chapter House from Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut
Geography:Made in Aquitaine, France
Dimensions:Overall: 453 x 304 in. (1150.6 x 772.2 cm)
Credit Line:The Cloisters Collection, 1935
From the Capitular Room, Cistercian abbey of Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut, Pontaut, Gascony
; Notre-Dame-de-Pontaut, Gascony (until 1791) ; Monsieur Dyzez, Samadet (from 1791) ; Monsieur de Poudenx (by descent from Monsieur Dyzez's daughter) ; M. A. Lang & E. Levy, France (until 1930) ; [ Monsieur Paul Gouvert, Paris (1930 -1935)]
Carlier, Achille. "Les Principes de Notre Doctrine." Les Pierres de France 1, no. 1 (1937). pp. 8–9, fig. 9.
Carlier, Achille. "L’enlèvement en deux temps, par M. Rockefeller de la Salle Capitulaire de Pontaut en 1935." Les Pierres de France 1, no. 3 (1937). pp. 152–55, fig. 95, 96.
Lief, Zola. "The Cloisters." The Compleat Collector 3, no. 7 (May 1943). p. 3.
Rorimer, James J. Medieval Monuments at The Cloisters: As They Were and As They Are, edited by Katherine Serrell Rorimer. Revised ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. pp. 25–27, fig. 19–21.
Schrader, J. L. "George Grey Barnard: The Cloisters and the Abbaye." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 37, no. 1 (Summer 1979). p. 46, fig. 59.
Young, Bonnie. A Walk Through The Cloisters. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. pp. 40–45.
Shepard, Mary B. Europe in the Middle Ages, edited by Charles T. Little, and Timothy B. Husband. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. pp. 11, 60–61, pl. 53.
Forsyth, Ilene H. "The Monumental Arts of the Romanesque Period: Recent Research." In The Cloisters: Studies in Honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary, edited by Elizabeth C. Parker. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. pp. 7–8, fig. 6.
Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. no. 21, pp. 49, 194.
Norris, Michael. Medieval Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. p. 16, fig. 9.
Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 46–49.
Husband, Timothy B. "Creating the Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 70, no. 4 (Spring 2013). p. 42, fig. 86, 87.
Bolton, Andrew, ed. Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Vol. 2. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018. p. 224.
Philippe de Montebello, former Director of The Met, guides viewers through The Cloisters, pointing out Romanesque and Gothic architecture and artwork, beautiful tapestries, and the diverse species in the gardens. He outlines the history of the building and its many influences and highlights significant works of art in the collection.
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