Sculpture Column Figure of a Nimbed King Research Proposal

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Gothic Sculpture

Art represents the era in which it was produced and often speaks to later time periods as well, and how we view the art of the past shows some of what we think about ourselves and about the meaning we attribute to both past and present. When we view a work like Column Figure of a Nimbed King, a sculpture from around the period 1150-1170, we measure the people of that time on the basis of what this one sculptor has produced, considering how the work reflects attitudes and aesthetics from the time as well as how it speaks to us and says something to us about our ancestors.

This work was produced by a French sculptor carving in limestone. The work is relatively large at a height of 45 1/4 in. (115 cm). The work balances a certain inherent rigidity because the figure rests against a straight column, which gives the work a very straight spine as a backing, while at the same time the pose and demeanor of the figure is very human and much more relaxed than the rigidity of the column might suggest. The work was found in the royal abbey of Saint-Denis in the environs of Paris. The figure is not identified by name but is merely known as a king, seen in the crown on his head and the royal raiment on his body.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Proposal on Sculpture Column Figure of a Nimbed King Assignment

The abbey of Saint-Denis was long important in the Catholic Church in France and housed the shrine of the national saint, that being Saint-Denis. The abbey also served as a burial site for many French kings. Abbot Suger headed the abbey from 1122-1151, and during his time the west facade and east end of the abbey were rebuilt in a new style then called the "French style," though it was later called the Gothic style. According to the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, this column figure represents an Old Testament king and is the only complete statue surviving from the now destroyed cloister that was constructed shortly after the death of Abbot Suger: "The bejeweled crown and nimbus distinguish the royal and saintly nature of the figure. His identity may once have been inscribed upon the scroll that he holds, now broken" (para. 1). The fact that the figure is part of a column also shapes some of its aesthetic elements as the sculpture is formed to match the form of the column: "The slender folds of the figure's drapery further emphasize the column's elongated proportions" ("Medieval European Sculpture for Buildings" para. 3).

The way this piece of sculpture is attached to the building is very much part of the developing Gothic style, a habit that would continue well through later Gothic periods. Works were often quite firmly attached to architecture, though even then late Gothic sculpture typically maintained its formal independence. Henry Vyverberg cites the two column figures from Cologne, the Virgin and Christ, as examples: "Their elegance echoes the rather previous mannerism of the countless carved madonnas of this era that were destined for church and home, and contrasts emphatically with the solemnity of High Gothic monumental sculpture" (Vyverberg 66).

These statues were richly painted, which was true of nearly all northern stone and wooden sculpture of the era and was likely true of. Column Figure of a Nimbed King, though much of that ornamentation has worn away to reveal the sandy beige color of the limestone beneath.

For many people, Gothic architecture is probably best represented by Notre-Dame de Paris, and the monumental nature of this type of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Sculpture Column Figure of a Nimbed King."  Essaytown.com.  November 22, 2008.  Accessed February 28, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/sculpture-column-figure-nimbed-king/896401.