MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, French
(active 1120-1135 at Souillac)
The depiction of fantastic beasts can be traced to a very early eastern origin. Romanesque art absorbed Asiatic elements and created a new vocabulary from them. These swarming, intermingled forms rarely have any religious justification; they have a symbolic value and play a decorative role. Animal imagery in Romanesque churches is found mostly on the piers, columns and capitals. The artist of this trumeau dizzily piled up his creatures to cover the whole surface, obedient to the demands of both symmetry and horror vacui; intoxicated with forms and volumes, the sculptor bends and twists his feline creatures' bodies as he will.