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Head of an Old Testament King
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Head of an Old Testament King


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Carved for the abbey church of Saint-Denis (outside Paris), this Old Testament king presented a model of sacred rulership for the French kings who served as the patrons of the monastery. The head, from a pier (column) figure on the building's west façade, was broken off during the French Revolution, when the royal burial church became a key target for vandalism. This head reflects a moment of artistic transition. The carver still works in the abstracted Romanesque style, but incorporates elements based on the observation of nature, such as the soft rounding of the face and the wavy curls of hair. Artists would continue to expand upon this interest in naturalism in the Gothic and Renaissance periods.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Technical Reportother
3/26/1940Treatmentother
6/16/1942Treatmentother
6/14/1966Treatmentcleaned
3/17/1969Treatmentother
6/22/1971Treatmentcleaned
2/05/1981Examinationexamined for condition
2/05/1981Treatmentcleaned; other
8/24/1984Loan Considerationexamined for loan
5/17/1993Treatmentother
11/18/1998Treatmentcleaned; loss compensation; other
1/17/2006Loan Considerationexamined for loan
Exhibitions
  • The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. 0.
  • Treasures from Medieval France. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland. 1966-1967.
  • An Exhibition of the Treasures of The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York. 1967.
  • The Royal Abbey of St. Denis at the Time of Abbot Suger (1125-1151). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 1981.
  • Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 2006-2007.
  • Naissance de la Sculpture Gothique, Saint-Denis, Paris, Chartres (1135-1150). Musée de Cluny, Paris. 2018-2019.
Provenance Raoul Heilbronner, Paris; Dikran Kelekian, Paris; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1911, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1911

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Creator
Period
ca. 1140 (Medieval)
Medium
limestone
(Sculpture)
Accession Number
27.22
Measurements
H: 14 3/16 x W: 7 1/2 x D: 8 9/16 in. (36 x 19 x 21.8 cm)

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