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Corpus from a processional Cross

Origin / Date West France, c. 1100
Material copper alloy, gilt and silvered
Dimensions 125mm high x 102mm wide
Availability For sale


Tips of fingers lost, some edges rubbed, e.g. tips of nose and toes, else excellent condition. The patina of the later silvering, presumably applied to prevent any further corrosion, suggests it was done some time ago, probably in the 19th century. Old label in hollowed back, inventory number or perhaps a price (if so, in Sterling), in a pre-war hand: “L 219”.

Probably the finest early French small-scale corpus left in private hands.


Apparently unrecorded, this delicately and carefully worked corpus, likely from a processional cross, seems directly related, in the sense of possible antecedents, to four of the most famous larger but still non-monumental corpi of the early Romanesque period around 1100: the ivory cross in the Museo de León from the last quarter of the 11th century, called the Carrizo Christ after the monastery it belonged to at a later date (Fig. 1); the ex-Stoclet collection copper alloy corpus first recorded in Le Mans, now British Museum 1965.0704.1, given to west France (Anjou) of the 1st quarter of the 12th century, and the related figure found near Soudan (Loire Atlantique) and now in Angers Musée des Beaux-Arts (MA VI-R 319), both widely considered the most beautiful of the metal corpi to survive; and the “Helmstedter Kreuz” or “Werden” corpus, now in the treasury of St. Ludgerus Church in Essen-Werden, the very largest recorded bronze (just over a metre high) and dated uncertainly to between 1060 and 1100. At the same time, it is technically very close to the two early surviving small-scale copper solid casts associated with the Limousin, the corpus in the church in Saint-Julien-aux-Bois (Corrèze), and the angel reliquary figure of Saint-Sulpice-Les-Feuilles (Haute-Vienne) (Musée de Limoges).


Besides the technique, rare in copper alloy figures, of fine incised striations on the hair (1), which is patterned in larger parallel strands from a central parting, the stylized beard pattern with forward-curling terminals, and the angle of the feet, with the downward thrust of the toes onto the rectangular suppedaneum, it is the organization of the loincloth that most aligns this corpus with the Carrizo figure, including the circle decoration of the edges and the cingulum (probably meant to hold real precious stones in the case of the ivory), the nested v-folds (only on the left thigh in this figure) and the flattened zig-zag folds of the overhanging cloth on the sides.

Generally speaking, a perizoneum with a knot on the right which is pulled under and over the belt on the left is both a widespread and early type. In Mosan work alone, for example, the Tongres ivory plaque of 1000 has it while Renier de Huy still uses it around 1120. Bloch (1992), who organizes the material of his comprehensive survey of metal corpi according to differences in perizoneum, calls his own grouping of this model, when used in combination with tubular hanging folds, the Trier type (III C) (2). More important, therefore, is the particular way this schema is applied and in the present case there is a particular triangular fold down the centre, giving Bloch’s type V B. However, what further distinguishes both this figure and the Carrizo Christ from the 15 figures in this grouping, including the British Museum ex-Stoclet figure, is firstly, that the triangular lappet is shorter, secondly that its right edge does not drop from the bottom of the knot but from this latter’s left side, and thirdly that this right edge is itself folded over itself leftwards to attempt to convey the correct topology of the fold. Only ex-Stoclet and the counterpart to this British Museum figure, that of Soudan (Bloch’s V B 1), taken as the oldest of this grouping, seem to show the folding over of the edge of cloth at the bottom of the triangle. A variant of this shorter triangular lappet is also found on the Crucifixion of the shrine commissioned by Abbot Bégon III of Conques, - still in situ, - to house various relics sent by Pope Pascal II in 1100. Though no good reproduction of this figure is readily available to make a detailed comparison and its nose is missing, the indent of the beard line on the cheek, the outline of the chin and the forked beard are comparable to this figure. Another, very well-documented figure that has a very similar triangular lappet with the right edge of the cloth folded over like Carrizo is the “Helmstedter Kreuz” or “Werden” corpus, now in the treasury of St. Ludgerus Church in Essen-Werden, and it also has, like most figures from Bloch’s V B group, the relatively long, flattened tubular folds over the thighs. The greatest similarity of this corpus, however, lies in the treatment of the face, which will be discussed below. With respect to the pattern of fine straight bunched folds, especially those created between the thighs by the sideways swing of the legs, as also the way the cloth folds under and over the cingulum on the true left, the present figure seems closest to precisely the three figures associated with west or north France: Soudan, ex-Stoclet and the private collection figure in Belligné, believed to have come from Pontron Abbey (Bloch V B nos. 1, 2 and 7), recently acquired by the Musee Dobre in Nantes (3).  Lastly, as regards the type of small but complex knot, though seen, besides Carrizo, in the Bloch III C (Trier) type, including the French figures in this grouping (4), it is perhaps not coincidental that it seems closest of all in size and shape to two of the figures just mentioned, namely Soudan and especially Belligné.Though Bloch points out with respect to this latter that the triangular overhang passes over rather than under the cingulum on the left, and therefore lacks an overhang on that side, it does seem to share the exact same manner of engraving the dot decoration.


Arguably an even more important characteristic than the triangular central fold is also the one in which this figure radically differs from the Carrizo Christ. Where this latter follows a Carolingian model of an open-eyed Christ, - stout, alive and standing upright on the suppedaneum, - as do so many of the Mosan and German examples, the figures taken as western French or English and mostly grouped by Bloch under type V (especially groups A and B), show a strikingly different posture: slender and elongated body type, a much more dramatic swing of the body and the strong sideways or forward inclination of a narrower head, eyes closed to depict the moment of, or following, death. The stress points of the sagging body are shown at the joints: the wrists, where the hands stay horizontal while the arms descend; the elbows, bent; the knees, bent forwards and sideways; and the neck, the head dropping forwards and sideways. This was already the position of the earliest monumental corpus, that of Gero in Cologne, even if there the knees bend leftwards, as also in so many other German corpi following this tradition. Likewise, a similarly early figure such as Metropolitan Museum 17-190-760 would also belong to this more dramatic grouping, even if its perizoneum assigns it to Bloch’s group I F 1.

Together, these two characteristics of the perizoneum and body position find a striking parallel in a group of Crucifixion images also datable and localizable to the western France of the beginning of the 12th century, following closely on the generation of Mss that still depict Christ alive and upright such as the Psalter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Bib. Nat. Ms lat. 11550). These are a Missal from Saint-Pere de Chartres (now Troyes, Bib. Mun. Ms 894 - Cahn no 6), a Psalter from Angers (now Amiens, Bib. Mun. Ms L’Escalopier 2 - Cahn no 8), as well as the Missal of Sainte-Radegonde, (Poitiers, Bib. Mun. Ms 40 - Cahn no 4) and a single leaf (Paris, Bib. Nat. Nouv. Acq. lat. Ms 2659), probably from Le Mans. Even closer is a Crucifixion on a folio presented by Les Enluminures, Catalogue 7 (1998, no 1.) as western French c. 1100-1125, which even has a similar elongated thorax and near identical twin strands of hair parallel across the shoulder. Also telling in this respect is the presence on this corpus of the horizontal indents running front to back in the strands of hair halfway on the left side that parallels the graphically depicted undulation in most of the manuscripts mentioned above. Again, though the loincloth of this manuscript Crucifixion has plain edging, both the mantles of Mary and John show the familiar circles within the lined hem of the cloaks.

Other examples of the way manuscript traits are paralleled are the detailing of the rounded chin, the wavy line of the mouth, and the slight indent of the line of the beard on the cheek, reminiscent of the systematic drawing of this line in contemporary miniatures, for example the scenes from the Life of St Albinus (Bib. Nat. Ms Nouv. Acq. lat. 1390 – Cahn no 9) from Angers, as well as the Last Supper in a Missal from Saint-Maur-des-Fossés near Paris (Bib. Nat. Ms lat. 12054 – Cahn no 84), both from around 1100, though already used earlier, in e.g. the Glossed Psalter of c. 1050-75, British Library, Ms Cotton Tiberius C. VI. One could therefore argue that this small corpus, together with the Pope Pascal II Reliquary in Conques and Louvre OA 12185 (Bloch V A 4), also attributed to western France of the beginning of the 12th century, - and which shares various other characteristics despite the longer and larger perizoneum, such as the parting of the hair at the back, - is one of the closest surviving sculptural equivalents of the Crucifixions in French, English or Anglo-Norman Mss either side of 1100 (5).

Head type

Lastly, as with the central triangular fold discussed above, it is possible to isolate another characteristic within this general group all sharing this dramatic body position, namely the facial type. It is one marked not only by a strongly defined and large rounded brow, an almost aquiline nose, and very globular eyes closed to a thin wavy slit to mark the lids, but also, equally pronounced, high-placed and sharp-edged cheekbones. In addition, Hürkey already referred to the ‘narrow’ head shape of figures such as Soudan. Lastly, the hair is sleek, curving behind the ears, and the beard well-defined in stylized curls (6).

Features such as globular eyes depicted closed occur separately across various periods and regions in the course of the 12th century, but this particular combination of traits makes one wonder whether it is possible to associate it with a specific period, even if, given the variations in execution, not necessarily with a single location (7). Thus, within the corpi already referred to, at least three very clearly typify this facial model, all dated before or around 1100: British Museum ex-Stoclet, Metropolitan Museum 17-190-760, and especially the Helmstedter corpus. The similarity in conception extends also to the beard of the latter, projecting out with terminals curled forward, as in Carrizo and the present figure.
It is likely that other associated figures such as Angers MA VI-R 319, the figure now in Paray-le-Monial (Bloch V B 3) and especially the figure from a private collection in Belligné, also illustrate this facial model but it is not possible to tell on the basis of existing photographs. French figures that follow the same model but without the stylization of the curves of brow and nose, such as the Gent Bijloke Museum (Bloch V A 1), are generally dated towards the middle of the 12th century. A figure that is similar in size and facial conception (eyes and cheekbones), as well as treatment of feet and arms, but otherwise not comparable in loincloth or position, is also in Angers (Musée no. AM 23, Bloch III C 8), and dated to before 1150. For another figure of similar size and before 1150 but more Germanic conception see Cologne, Schnüttgen Museum H 105 (Bloch IV B 12), while a possibly Mosan variant is Victoria & Albert Museum 2091-1855 (Bloch V A 10). Interestingly, a well-known larger figure that is comparable in terms of striated hair treatment, beard curls, slender body type and beauty of perizoneum is a Swabian corpus in the Church at Amrichshausen/Künzelsau, dated by Bloch to c. 1130.


Since historians have generally depicted the Europe around 1100 as unruly and this work, together with its larger counterparts, argues on the contrary for a very sophisticated cultural environment, not necessarily but more than likely centred on the Anjou, a minimum of context might help to resolve what is only an apparent contradiction.

Viewed most broadly, this was the time when the Latin West had finally put centuries of Danish and other predations behind it, the Normans had been integrated (William the Conqueror even gaining the English throne in 1066), and most remaining ‘pagans’ by and large converted (Denmark gained its first Archbishopric in 1104), with Europe generally during the 11th century being set on a more fruitful course of building, cultivation and learning, and once more guided in all these by great monastic establishments. In stark contrast, and following centuries of encroachment on its land from Turkic tribes, the Byzantine East, even further alienated from its former Latin brothers by the formalization of longstanding theological disagreements in 1054, was dealt the first irreversible death blow at the battle of Manzikert in 1071.

At the local level, the house of Anjou, like most European comital houses a descendant from one of the paladins of the Carolingian courts, seems to have been a well-respected one. Not only did several ancestors of Fulk V of Anjou (1092 -1143) distinguish themselves in the long battles with the Danes, but, together with that of William IX Duke of Aquitaine to its south, it was known for its degree of ‘literacy’ (8), exceptional in non-clerical circles of the time, just as the Capetian domains to the east and north were famous for their clerical centres of learning (e.g. a saint Anselm and his students at Laon). Perhaps it was not by chance that it was this William’s grand-daughter Eleanor and great-granddaughter Marie who became emblems of this very courtly literacy, if they be indeed the Queens giving judgments in a ‘court of love’ referred to by Andreas Capellanus in De Amore.

This time either side of 1100, which today we might call ‘turbulent’, was perhaps so not only because of the rivalries between the many ducal houses, often violent, but because passions (and beliefs) seem to have been pursued and acted on rather than bridled even if this involved long periods of penitence after. That is at least the impression given by one of its better-known representatives, also of the ‘literary’ bent, the aforementioned William IX of Aquitaine, Count of Poitiers, who liked to try his hand at verse as well as love and battle. The much later vida or ‘life’, describing him as an inveterate womanizer, a proper Don Juan avant la lettre, e.g. a collector of women as conquests, must be weighed against his own surviving poems. These are invaluable as the very first in a whole line of work by troubadours and trouveres across the 12th century who perfected a style of lyric for which he set the tone, especially with ‘Molt jauzions mi prenc en amar/Un joi don plus mi vueill aizir’, a style that became a cultural phenomenon retroactively and collectively referred to as ‘courtly love’. This famous and fortuitous turn, seen by some as the result of deteriorating conditions in the never-ending battle between the sexes, reversed the position of women from victims of love to its causes, beneficiaries and ultimate arbiters, at the risk for them, however, of ‘love at a distance’ on the one hand and the separation of love and marriage on the other. This same poem, moreover, also epitomised a further pitfall in its last line ‘Pos sap c’ab lieis ai a guerir’, by giving a ‘salvific’ role to the Domna usually reserved for the queen of heaven herself which might lead to a possible confusion of the register of courtly love with that of divine love.

That women were not all powerless, however, is shown by the fact that his contemporary, the most attractive woman in France, Bertrade de Montfort, daughter of Simon de Montfort, was able to become the mother of Fulk V, before leaving in 1092, still married to Fulk IV the Surly, to give a son to Fulk’s very rival Philip I of France, also already married and whose passion for her was strong enough for him to be willing to be (and actually being) excommunicated by Pope Urban II rather than give her up (9), a woman who could finally surprise everyone by taking the veil at the recently created (1101) royal abbey of Fontevraud while still “young and beautiful”.

Likewise, the other centre of power, the Church, acting as the social conscience of the day, also had to explore the limits of its intervention in a changing society, setting standards in the field of mores and manners. Most conspicuously, it defined the degrees of permitted (courtly) consanguinity (the sin of which William IX was himself a victim) and, - another circumstantially forced measure against illicit passions, - opted to make priestly celibacy compulsory in 1139, a ruling that over the long term does not seem to have been in its own best interests.

Passion rather than a retroactively imputed real politik or ‘calculated motives’ may also have governed decisions such as Urban II’s preaching of the first crusade in 1095 at Clermont, since, as already stated, restoring Byzantine land lost to Turkish encroachment was as good as a lost cause after 1071, while, on the other hand, ideals such as reuniting a divided Christendom, answering the call for help of a fellow Christian (Alexios I Comnenus) as well as a passion for justice, e.g. to put an end to the outrageous wrongs perpetrated by the new Seljuk rulers of Jerusalem against Christian pilgrims at their holiest sites, - not to mention the memory of the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by the “mad” caliph Hakim in 1009, - were causes that were each sufficient reason in their own right.

Lastly, though the actual facts are probably forever lost, the proverbial blindness of passion, as well as its price, can be gauged from the path and later records concerning Peter the Hermit, leader of the parallel ‘peasant crusade’ that ended in their slaughter: they suggest a man skillful in inflaming the passions rather than igniting them, even to their most destructive consequences.

It is in artistic patronage, however, that the Church truly came into its own, in this case in one of the earliest representations of the consequences of the Passion itself, the “Passio Domini”, namely His death, a theme rarely broached before the end of the 11th century. This small corpus thus corroborates what we already know from the likes of André de Fleury (Abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire), who documents in his Vita Gauzlini abbatis Floriacensis monasterii of c. 1042 his abbot Gauzelin’s passion for the arts and his particular esteem for a certain Raoul, “expert in the arts of melting metal”. As such it also testifies to the extensive influence the Church had, not only pacifying in an always conflict-ridden political sphere, but, through its passionate support of an increasingly sophisticated artistic output, also in ‘civilizing’, analogous to what William IX in his poem calls vilas encortezir (teaching courtesy to peasants or, more generally, manners to the boorish).


Though the Poitevin Romanesque sculpture of e.g. Chauvigny needs little introduction, the place of western France generally (Le Mans, Tours, Angers, as well as Poitiers) in early French Romanesque work, - usually more associated with painting (e.g. the above-mentioned Mss, some of the earliest surviving stained glass at Le Mans, and Loire valley frescoes such as Saint-Savin), whereas Burgundy and the Languedoc are celebrated for their sculpture, - may need re-emphasising. Of course, the accidents of history – the unintentional fires as well as the deliberate destructions of revolutions, both protestant and secular, - play their part in this perception. However, not only do we know from the records of, for example Saint-Julien in Le Mans (1060-1120), Sainte-Radegonde in Poitiers and Saint-Maurice in Angers that monumental building and re-building almost never ceased from the late 11th century on, this piece, in the context of the various figures mentioned, argues for the existence also of an important, perhaps monastic, metalwork workshop in the region. This would not be surprising, given its profound Carolingian roots (the most venerable abbeys of Saint-Martin in Tours and Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire) on the one hand, and the fact that, as Danielle Gaborit-Chopin (2005) has pointed out, though only the one at Conques survives, many Churches would have had a ‘treasury’ rich in the smaller-scale works aiding worship. And if it is not hard to imagine one of the fabled Saxon or Mosan workshops producing the Werden figure well before Renier de Huy, the fact that the three earliest and most accomplished French figures, Stoclet, Soudan and Belligné, were all found in west France, is still in search of an imaginative explanation. 

Early French metal work is very rare, even opus lemovicense before 1150. Over and above the corpi listed as Bloch V B, and closer than the applique apostles from the Vasselot collection now joined with the one already in the Louvre (O.A. 6333) (10), usually dated to the second quarter of the 12th century, it is the surviving work from the chasse of Saint Babolin (11) of c. 1100 that most clearly shows the typical elements found here: flattened zig-zag-, tubular-, and v-folds, together with double-banded decorative edging enclosing circles. More specifically, both surviving Christ figures from that casket also show identical use of incised parallel lines on the reverse of the decorated hem of the zig-zag folds, as well as the very stylized beard curls, - again both traits also found on Carrizo, - while the applique figure has very similar parting of the hair at the back.

The exceptional quality of this work lies not only in the finely chiselled and engraved lines that give detail to the hair, for example, as well as the toes, but already in the modelling of the cast, with the v-folds showing variations in depth rather than being surface decoration, the ribs being delicately modelled and correctly positioned, and the working out of the back parts of the loincloth that might have protruded from behind the stem of the cross. All this maker it the antithesis of the more rigid and formulaically symmetrical castings of many such figures. The sophistication of the play of lines, some broad some very fine, is not tied to a specific period so much as a feature of all the best Romanesque works of the 12th century. For example, a similar play of fine parallel lines within the larger triangular folds is also found in directly related stained glass figures, such as the seated Virgin in the Church of the Trinity in Vendome (c. 1130), and the Ascension window at Saint-Julien in Le Mans (c. 1120).Though not the smallest since the related figures of Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts no AM 23 (Bloch III C 8), Bloch V B 4, and Bloch V B 5 are smaller, this corpus has a strong claim to be the finest and most accomplished of the smaller-scale French pieces to survive, certainly among those of the first half of the 12th century.

It is precisely in this aspect, namely the application of a very fine calligraphic chasing and engraving style likely modelled on manuscript painting to solid copper on a small scale, - in the western France of the early 12th century and in the context of the rarity of early metalwork, - that its similarity to two small figures of c. 14 cm., which stand out as unique survivals, both ascribed to Limousin ateliers, gains some significance.
The straight and frontal corpus with its processional cross of the lignum vitae type now in situ in the Church of Saint-Pierre-es-liens in Saint-Julien-aux-Bois (Corrèze) has not yet been discussed by scholars after the initial article by René Fage in 1926. It has the familiar circle decoration and asymmetrical vertical fold patterns, the dignity of the large closed eyes, even the triangular lappet fold, though on the sides while the knot is in the centre. The beard style with forward projecting curled terminals is almost identical to the present figure.
The other figure, the angel reliquary (St Matthew?) of Saint-Sulpice-Les-Feuilles (Haute-Vienne) now Musée de Limoges, and the earliest work associated with Grandmont Abbey, is also of solid copper, equally hieratic and shares the distinctive almond shape of its large protruding eyes with the former. It has, however, in contrast to it, recently been catapulted into the limelight by Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye (1996) as a masterpiece of early central west French Romanesque work.
Besides shared traits already mentioned, such as the prominent cheekbones, as well as one not yet detailed, such as the thin and pinched mouth, it is the best example, - whether in the hair or the very decorative rather than logical drapery patterns, - of expert small-scale chasing and engraving.

In conclusion, given that there are only two (12) early (western or northern) French surviving monumental wooden figures that show a similar organization of the perizoneum, neither of which is complete, - the torso in Saint Marcel (Eure), which has the most elaborate carving of this triangular central fold, and a figure already associated by Hürkey (no 160) with the above groups, once on loan to the Sint Catherijnenconvent museum Utrecht, now in a private collection in the Netherlands, - this figure gains its importance as a document of what either might have looked like.

1. It is more common on copper enamelled work of the 12th century. Compare, for example, the Christ and apostles of the urna of Saint Dominic of Silos (Burgos, Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos), which also uses the very characteristic ex-Stoclet figure hairstyle and may have been modelled on the urna of Ulger (d. 1148), bishop of Angers, which mostly survives in sketches.
2. One could describe this important, likely Rheno-mosan type, which includes some of the best French corpi (Louvre OA 4084 ex Boy collection (Bloch III C 11) and Hamburg Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe 1959-115 (Bloch C III 10, his book’s front cover image)), as one in which the whole front of the perizoneum itself forms a more or less triangular ‘lappet’ between knot on right and overhang on left.
3. There is one other well-known piece that exhibits this particular form of the frontal fold, albeit with an extra decorative flourish of the fabric on the other side of the knot. Louvre OA 2593 is a morse ivory corpus that carries the inscription “nate maris stelle veniam concede Sibille”. For this and other reasons it was associated by Goldschmidt with the Sybille who married Dietrich of Flanders in 1139, after her first marriage to the Norman William Clito was annulled in 1124 at the request of this latter’s uncle, Henry I of England. Anton von Euw (1972) attributed it to a St Omer or Liege workshop of 1130-50. It is interesting that this Sybille was the daughter of Fulk of Anjou (and sister of Geoffrey ‘Plantagenet’) and accompanied her father to the Holy Land, where he became King of Jerusalem in 1131. She returned to the Holy Land in 1157 with Dietrich but did not go home with him again, having entered the Lazarus cloister in Bethany where she died in 1163. The specific intercessionary inscription with its penitential import, together with the detail of the perizoneum, could as equally suggests a work made as early as 1124 following the annulment of her first marriage on the grounds of consanguinity, perhaps from an angevin model, as a it could a work commissioned by one ready to enter a cloister.
One other work unknown to Bloch which belongs in the V B group was Daniel Katz Ltd, European Sculpture, New York and London 2004, Catalogue no. 1a, present whereabouts unknown. It is the smallest at 11,4 cm and closely follows the Stoclet type with the head more forward than sideways, the arms more horizontal but with the strongly articulated elbows, the longer triangular lappet the double knot on the right, and the presence of nipples. In the swing of the body and suppedaneum it is virtually identical to the present one, and even has faint traces of the familiar circle decoration.
4. Besides those listed in note 1, a figure in Lille (Musée des Beaux Arts A77) (Bloch III C 6) is worthy of mention.
5. If one were to hypothetically assume the work was English, - not impossible given the close connections between the two regions, - and compare it to the more abundantly surviving early English Mss, details such as the simple but precise v-folds, the beard curls, the decorative circles and so on, still appear closer to 11th c. Mss, such as the Evangeliary in Cambridge, Pembroke Ms 302, than to the more elaborate mid 12th century style of, say, the Winchester Psalter. After all, the body position of the dead Christ, with legs bent sideways and arms upwards, but also this type of perizoneum, are already present in the third quarter of the 11th century (e.g. the Crucifixion in British Library, Ms Cotton Tiberius C. VI). This same “Tiberius Psalter” also shows how prevalent the style with flattened tubular folds, triangular gathering of drapery, simple nested v-folds, and circle decoration was at the time of the Conquest. Though later work such as that of the Alexis master in the St Alban’s Psalter from the 1120s on, now in the Basilica of St. Godehard in Hildesheim, seems close in terms of the particular facial profile discussed below, one could also point to the strongest manuscript parallel of all, namely with the famous Crucifixion on f. 52 of the Arundel Psalter (British Library, Arundel MS 60) (Fig. 2), whose date is placed by some to c. 1073 and others either side of 1100, and which this corpus resembles in terms of the globular treatment of the closed eyes, the body type and position and angular and asymmetrical treatment of the folds of the perizoneum, as well as the type of belt and knot Lastly, the hair type is also very close to the “Lundo” corpus (Copenhagen, National Museet D 894), which is taken as Anglo-Saxon or English from the 2nd half of the 11th. Given the straighter and more symmetrical treatment of the perhaps still Anglo-Saxon corpi (Tiberius C Vi, Arundel 60 f. 13r, and Lundo) compared to the treatment of this corpus, Pope Pascal II Reliquary, and Arundel 60 f. 52, a date nearer 1100 or 1110 seems more plausible for this latter group. 
6. In its stark yet strong and moving simplicity it seems to stand in relation to later figures as archaic Greek Kouroi do to sculpture of the classical period following it.
7. For example, the figures ascribed to the hand or workshop of Roger of Helmarshausen of 1100-1110, show a very similar treatment of closed eyes, striated hair with fine markings, and beard strands with small projecting terminals (Cf. Dortmund, Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte nr. B 165; Frankfurt, Kunstgewerbe Museum Nr. 4870; St Louis Art Museum, no. 73:49.), but without the other facial details and a very different perizoneum.
8. Even Fulk IV the Surly had embarked on a history of his own family. Molinier (1902) mentions Angers as a literary centre before and around 1100, its most famous teacher and poet being Marbode of Anjou, who ended as bishop of Rennes in 1096, but not before teaching pupils such as Ulger, Samson of Winchester, and Baudri de Bourgeuil, who himself ended up establishing a flourishing school of literature as abbot of Bourgeuil abbey. He is especially known, now as then, for having rewritten and corrected, probably soon after 1107, before Guibert de Nogent’s version, the only truly contemporary but anonymous account of the first crusade, the Gesta Francorum. Another figure was the epistle-writing Geoffrey of Vendome, elected abbot there in 1093, son of a Lord of Angers and a man particularly devoted to Urban II whose council of Clermont he attended.
9. Historians will note the total contrast with the attitude of a Henry VIII to his women and the Pope. That a ruler was able single-handedly to steer his country so disastrously off course and imagine he could found a ‘church’ on such dubious moral grounds, is perhaps a reflection of the extent the medieval balance of power had shifted away from the Church to the ‘temporal’ and the ‘secular’ over four hundred years, entrenching the ‘national’, not to say ‘nationalistic’ rivalries, which, in part because of this absence of arbitration by the Church, ended so disastrously another four hundred years on.
10. The copper alloy corpus owned by Vasselot (ex Eugène Piot and Victor Martin le Roy collections) sold Christies’s November 2011 lot 24 is another early example ascribed to western France but dated to the 2nd quarter of the 12th century. It has a similar decorative scheme to the present one of punched circles within double bands, similar parting of the hair at the back and the strongly curved brow and nose line but is less delicate in both proportion and execution.
11. Châsse de Saint Babolin (Founder of the abbey of Saint-Maur des Fossés) now in the Church at Le Coudray-Saint-Germer (Oise).
12. If one believes that the corpus in situ in the church of Vänge Gotland should be dated to the first half of the 12th century and follows an English model it would also give some idea of this north west European type. The closest northern Spanish equivalent is probably the ‘Crist de Cubells’ in the MNAC.


Private collection, France.


Molinier, A. et al., Les sources de l’histoire de France, Paris, 1902.
Fage, René.  ‘La croix processionnelle de Saint-Julien-aux-Bois’, in: Comptes rendus. Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres vol. 70 (1926) p. 296-304.
Thoby, Paul, Le Crucifix des Origines au Concile de Trente, Nantes, 1959.
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