Study of a Capital, Church of St Lazare, Avallon, FranceArtist:
, British, 1852 - 1917
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 724 x 609mm
Support: 457 x 382mm
Accession Number: CGSG00314
This capital is found inside St Lazare and dates from the mid 1100s. The drawing is part of a group Randal made for Ruskin, who described the church's exterior as 'the most interesting I have ever seen of the date out of Italy.' Together with further drawings made by Ruskin's assistant WG Collingwood and the artist TM Rooke, Ruskin used the drawings to research Cistercian architecture and presented his findings in lectures at the British Institution.
This particular capital is of a popular style known as 'Corinthian' that originates in Ancient Greece and features tiers of scrolling leaves. However much of the exterior far more unusual with complicated geometric designs and depictions of Biblical and secular stories. Ruskin described the portal’s carvings as the 'most notable transition of Greek to Gothic I know in the world'. Ruskin believed the sculptors were eager depict a strong moral message through popular stories, without limiting themselves to biblical accounts.