MASTER of Cabestany
(active 1130-1180)


Italian sculptor, active in Italy, France and Spain. He is named after the tympanum representing the Assumption of the Virgin at Ste Marie, Cabestany (Roussillon). He worked in an idiosyncratic and expressive style, characterized by animated figures with stocky bodies, large hands and heads with distinctive features. His violent use of the drill is also characteristic of his work.

He was a prolific sculptor and evidently had a long career, working over a large area; sculptures have been attributed to him in Catalonia (S Pere de Galligants, Girona; Sant Pere de Rodes and Sant Esteve d'En Bas), Roussillon (Ste Marie, Cabestany, and Ste Marie, Le Boulou), Pays d'Aude (Saint-Papoul, Saint-Hilaire d'Aude, Lagrasse Abbey and the Assomption de Notre-Dame, at Rieux-Minervois), Tuscany (Sant'Antimo and S Giovanni, Sugana) and Navarre (Errondo and Villaveta). The variations in quality seen in these works have suggested that the Master had an associate, but this would be surprising in an artist whose work is remarkable for its consistency and discipline. It also seems unlikely that a workshop was involved, because the style of the sculpture is very individual.

The identity of this sculptor is a mystery. It is generally assumed that he was a traveling sculptor from Tuscany, who produced most of his work in Roussillon, France.

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