Saint-Martin de Boscherville (Seine-Maritime)
Abbey of St Georges

Capital with musicians

12th  century 

This capital from the 12th century cloister surmounted two pairs of columns. It represents eleven musicians, both men and women, who are richly dressed, playing musical instruments either alone or in pairs: a harp, chimes, hurdy-gurdy, pan pipes, cithara, lyre, psaltery or rebec. At the end of the cortege, a female juggler is standing on her head, perched on a stool.
The sculptor has represented a veritable princely orchestra of the 12th century. The musicians’ costumes and the fact that they are crowned could be reminiscent of the old men of the Apocalypse, and the female juggler the dance of Salome. In fact there is nothing to indicate that there was the intention to represent a biblical scene.
The representation of human figures is rare in Norman Romanesque sculpture. The style of the historiated capitals in the cloister at Boscherville, which shows the influence of Chartres, may well indicate that their authors came from the Ile-de-France.

Dimensions of the object
h.: 25 cm; w.: 40 cm; depth : 25 cm,

- Exhibition : Trésors des abbayes normandes, Rouen-Caen 1979, n° 210, De l’Egypte ancienne à la renaissance rouennaise, collections du musée des Antiquités de Rouen, Rouen 1992, n°68

Musée départemental des Antiquités de Rouen, Seine-Maritime
inv. 139

Yohann Deslandes, Musée des Antiquités de Rouen