© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The twelfth century saw a remarkable proliferation of monumental sculpture, primarily on the architectural elements of churches and abbeys, like column capitals and doorways. The subjects were often drawn from scripture. The front face of this capital shows the angel Gabriel telling Zachariah that his wife, Elizabeth, will bear a son, John the Baptist. At hearing the news, Zachariah, a priest, falls silent and is unable to speak. Medieval commentators interpreted Zachariah’s silence as foreshadowing the replacement of the old Hebrew law with Christianity. Comparison with other capitals from the same abbey suggests that the auxiliary scenes on the sides may be elaborations or commentaries on the theme of the front face, but their subjects here remain unknown. On the right face, a young man pulls a rope, which may be connected to the demon on the rooftop above; beside them, a hooded man carefully assembles the tiles of a roof.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1922.19
People
Unidentified Artist
Title
Capital from Moutiers-Saint-Jean; principal face: The Annunciation to Zachariah in the Temple; right face: Unidentified Scene; left face: Elizabeth and an Unidentified Man
Classification
Architectural Elements
Work Type
architectural element
Date
c. 1125-1130
Places
Creation Place: Europe, France, Moutiers-Saint-Jean
Culture
French
Location
Level 1, Room 1003, West Arcade
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Limestone
Dimensions
63.6 x 63.5 x 66.3 cm (25 1/16 x 25 x 26 1/8 in.)
1046 lb.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
1922
Object Number
1922.19
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

"America Acquires Romanesque Art", The International Studio (October 1922), vol. LXXVI, no. 305, pp. 37-39, pp. 37-39, repr.

Arthur Kingsley Porter, "Romanesque Capitals", Fogg Art Museum Notes (1922), pp. 22-36, pp. 27-28; repr. as figs. 1, 2, 3

Linda Seidel, "Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections: IX: The William Hayes Fogg Art Museum: I: Burgundy", GESTA (1972), vol XI, no. 1, no. 1a, repr.

Walter Cahn and Linda Seidel, Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections, volume 1: New England Museums, Burt Franklin & Co., Inc. (New York, NY, 1979), no. 1a, fig. 120, 121

Neil Stratford, "Sculpture Romane Originaire de Moutiers-Saint-Jean", Mémoires de la Commission des Antiquités du Départment de la Côte-d'Or (1980-1981), Tome XXXII, pp. 327-335, p. 327

[Unidentified article], Sacred Signs (December 1981), no. 13, repr.

Jane Hayward and Walter Cahn, Radiance and Reflection: Medieval Art from the Raymond Pitcairn Collection, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1982), p. 81

Neil Stratford, "La Sculpture Médiévale de Moutiers Saint-Jean (Saint-Jean-de-Réome)", Congrès Auxois-Châtillonnais (Paris, 1989), pp. 157-201, p. 167; repr. in b/w p. 166 as fig. 12

Elizabeth Bradford Smith, Medieval Art in America: Patterns of Collecting 1800-1940, exh. cat., Palmer Museum of Art (University Park, PA, 1996), p. 176

Christine Smith, ed., Before and After the End of Time: Architecture and the Year 1000, exh. cat., George Braziller (New York, NY, 2000), pp. 38, 52

Kathryn Brush, Vastly More than Brick and Mortar: Reinventing the Fogg Art Museum in the 1920s, Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge MA / New Haven, CT, 2003), pp. 54-56

Deborah Kahn, "Saint Augustin et le Diable, à propros d'un Chapiteau de Moutiers-Saint-Jean", Bulletin Monumental, Société française d'archéologie (2004), tome 162-3, pp. 189-192, pp. 189-192, repr. p. 190 as figs. 1-3

The Limestone Sculpture Provenance Project, website, 2004

Kathryn Brush, "The Capitals from Moutiers-Saint-Jean (Harvard University Art Museums) and the Carving of Medieval Art Study in American after World War I", Medieval Art and Architecture after the Middle Ages, ed. Janet Marquardt and Alyce Jordan, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 2009)

Exhibition History

32Q: 1003 West Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu