Richly illustrated, Early Gothic Column-Figure Sculpture in France is a comprehensive investigation of church portal sculpture installed between the 1130s and the 1170s. At more than twenty great churches, beginning at the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis and extending around Paris from Provins in the east, south to Bourges and Dijon, and west to Chartres and Angers, larger than life-size statues of human figures were arranged along portal jambs, many carved as if wearing the dress of the highest ranks of French society. This study takes a close look at twelfth-century human figure sculpture, describing represented clothing, defining the language of textiles and dress that would have been legible in the twelfth-century, and investigating rationale and significance. The concepts conveyed through these extraordinary visual documents and the possible motivations of the patrons of portal programs with column-figures are examined through contemporaneous historical, textual, and visual evidence in various media. Appendices include analysis of sculpture production, and the transportation and fabrication in limestone from Paris. Janet Snyder's new study considers how patrons used sculpture to express and shape perceived reality, employing images of textiles and clothing that had political, economic, and social significances.
Professor of Art History at West Virginia University, Janet Snyder's research addresses medieval limestone sculpture and architecture, and representations of clothing, textiles, and of the human form.
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Secret signals: the meaning of clothing in sculpture; Structures of power: the support of the peers; Good business: commerce in the North; Significant stuff: textiles and a language of dress; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.