MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, French
(active 1125-1150 at Saint-Gilles)
Abbey Church of Saint-Gilles, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard
At Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, which was begun in 1116, imitation of classical antiquity was carried to the point of pastiche. The portal is a Roman triumphal arch with three doors linked by a colonnade. Not only is the architecture Roman in style, but its statuary also is impregnated with classical influences. Dating the structure is far from easy because it has undergone many transformations. There are two opposing theories, one holding out for the first third of the 12th century, the other for the second quarter or latter half of the same century. Saint-Gilles has much in common with Italian architecture: a very similar iconography, a repertory of ornamentation drawn from antiquity, and the same independence of the sculptor from the architect.