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Collection of the Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield
Sculpture from the South West Portal, St Lazare, Avallon, France
Date Made/Found: 1882
Artist: Frank Randal , British, 1852 - 1917
Material and Medium: pencil on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 605 x 456mm Support: 196 x 282mm
Department: Ruskin
Accession Number: CGSG00408
This portion of decorative frieze is found surmounting a pilaster on part of the south-western portal of St Lazare, which dates from the mid 1100s. The frieze is weathered and was badly damaged during the French Revolution but Randal's series of sketches from the portal still capture its intricacy. Randal drew them for Ruskin, who described the portal 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. Ruskin described the portal’s carvings as the 'most notable transition of Greek to Gothic I know in the world'. This refers partly to their uniquely decorative patterns but more particularly their figurative narratives, which tell both religious and secular stories. Ruskin believed the sculptors were eager depict a strong moral message through popular stories, without limiting themselves to biblical accounts.
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