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The lungs of Saintonge and Poitou as an expression of secular culture


The sculptured comice corbels of 12th century churches in Saintonge and Poitou have not yet been systematically studied from the stand point of their iconography and style. This study attempts to catalogue their major themes, and their possible links to lay popular culture. Serving as supporting elements the corbel series are further interpreted as atlants, while their respective meaning for church and laity is discussed. The study continues with a discourse on two major themes of the corbel series, the self representations of the sculptors and the depiction of jongleurs and musicians. These themes support the study's contention that the corbel series constitute an autonomous element of Romanesque sculpture and express in their iconography and style lay trends which deviate from the official art of the church.

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