Monday, December 20, 2010

Jeremiah, Church of Saint-Pierre, Moissac

The Church of Saint-Pierre, Moissac was on of the stopping points in southern France on the great pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The church and its cloister host one of the greatest and best preserved collections of Romanesque sculpture in France. Amongst the sculpture is the famous Jeremiah contained within the trumeau (center post) on the south portal. The front of the trumeau has three sets of crossed lions. The lions create a gently scalloped contour along the sides of the trumeau, mirroring the the deeply scalloped jambs on either side of the portal. On the right side of the trumeau, is the sculpture of the prophet Jeremiah. The elongated body and graceful cross-legged posture rises and falls above the over-sized feet to match the scalloping on the front of the trumeau. The hair and beard are stylized plaits formed of groups of incised parallel lines. The stylized drapery clings to the body. The face, unusually well preserved for a sculpture positioned so easily within reach of vandals, is delicate and expressive. The entire effect is not one of portraiture, but instead one of idealized spirituality and reflection.

Image credits:

Detail of head, Emmanuel (epierre) on Flickr.
Portal, Elena Giglia (eg65) on Flickr.
Frontal view and oblique view, tilina25 on Flickr.

No comments: