The Sculpture Of Saint-Sauveur De Nevers
Berkeley, CA: University Of California, Berkeley, 1987
PhD dissertation at the University Of California, Berkeley.
"The city of Nevers saw a considerable flourishing of church building in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Relatively few of these structures survive, however, and what does stand today displays very little of what was a substantial output of sculptural decoration in that period. The former Cluniac priory of Saint-Sauveur, destroyed in 1838, was a modest twelfth-century building which belonged to one of the smaller monastic establishments of the city, but from it survives the fullest document of sculpture from Romanesque Nevers. A study of the style of the sculpture of Saint-Sauveur, now housed in the Musee de la Porte du Croux in Nevers, reveals a homogeneous body of sculpture of high quality dating to the middle of the twelfth century. These capitals, corbels, and a tympanum and lintel were carved by an atelier composed of a master who had carved capitals of the tribune story of the narthex and perhaps the Romanesque west facade of the abbey church of Vezelay on the northern border of the Nivernais, as well as, perhaps, a stonecarver who had worked earlier in Nevers itself. The stamp of this atelier may also be seen in Nevers in corbel sculpture of the chapel of Saint-Michel of the Benedictine convent of Notre-Dame de Nevers. Analysis of the iconography of the Saint-Sauveur sculpture, which included a remarkable sculpted 'bestiary' on the nave capitals and a particularly pointed emphasis on the powers of the apostle Peter in sculpture from the crossing and transept portal, gives more specific indication of the background and intentions of the Cluniac patrons of the sculpted decorations of Saint-Sauveur. As well, it may pinpoint the historical moment of the conception of the sculpture to the years around 1152. The collection of fragments from Saint-Sauveur emerges as the creation of an atelier working in an old and rich Romanesque idiom but touched also by a newer aesthetic and by intellectual concerns which scholars commonly associate with early Gothic works. Indeed, the Saint-Sauveur sculpture was soon to be followed in Nevers itself by works closely related to the dramatic contemporary innovations in the sculpture of the Ile-de-France." - abstract
Last update December 6, 2021