Portion of a Pilaster with an Acrobat


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 03

Acrobats appear often in medieval art, offering amusing reminders of the world beyond church or monastery walls. Appearing to defy the rules of nature, this contorted figure distracts attention from the capital’s function as an architectural support. Saint-Martin at Savigny was a thriving abbey in the Middle Ages, with numerous dependencies. It was damaged during the Reformation, and its community diminished in size and was ultimately disbanded in 1779. In the wake of the French Revolution that began a decade later, most of the buildings were destroyed and the sculptures dispersed.

Portion of a Pilaster with an Acrobat, Limestone, French

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