Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Gilles: Front facade--Saints on the splays of the central portal (page 2 of three pages)

The left splay with John and Peter


The left splay with Peter

Peter, with the identifying key, has the privileged spot underneath Christ in the tympanum and nearest to his right. His halo has bead-and-reel ornament and his garment is beautifully decorated at the cuffs and facings. Like the drapery on Thomas, his has "S"-curve folds at the two hems.

The right splay with James Major and Paul


James Major

Of James, Stoddard says, "he is the most fluid and agitated of all the Saint-Gilles apostles. Further, as a comparison with Roman sculpture in Arles reveals, James Major possesses more pagan overtones than any of the other monumental figures. The thin, clinging drapery over the stomach and legs in the Roman statues appear [sic] on James's right leg, while the freedom of the cloak on the sides of the Roman statues has its counterparts in the flaring yet congealed draperies on each side of James Major. The Romanesque sculptor, however, has frozen the action, flattened the mass, and related James to a specific architectural frame" (31).


Like James, Paul has an exposed ankle. The drapery folds are different, however, and seem to have distinct ridges. His head, bald with beard and mustache, has large ears. His strong hands hold his scroll.

Go to page 3 of Saints and Angels.

Works consulted or quoted:
Whitney S. Stoddard. The Facade of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard: Its Influence on French Sculpture. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan UP, 1973.

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© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.