Description When Abbot Joel (r. 1182-1191) commissioned the door for the main entrance to the church of San Clemente at Casauria in Abruzzi, he may have chosen bronze because of the medium's association with the legal tradition. San Clemente's doors are composed of seventy-two bronze plaques. In addition to decorative panels, the doors feature representations of each of the twenty possessions of the monastery. This panel bears a three-turreted castle labeled "Fare d'Abrilie." The door cycle includes an image of Saint Clement, patron saint of the church, Emperor Louis II the Younger, founder of the monastery, and King William II, who enlarged the abbey's lands. The bronze doors showcased the extent of the monastery's domains, which were mostly under dispute. The legal claim made by the doors is underscored by the use of a material traditionally associated with imperial legal proclamations. This does not imply that bronze, commonly used for doors, was always chosen for this reason, but due to the nature of the program at San Clemente such a hypothesis is tantalizing.
- The Year 1200. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 1970.
- Art of the Romanesque. University Art Gallery, South Bend. 1994.
- The Allure of Bronze. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] in a band at the base of the castle: CASTRUMFAREDABRILIE; (CASTRUM FARE D'ABRILE); [Translation] the Castle of D'Abrile
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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