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Living in the Languedoc:   Famous Personalities:   the Master of Cabestany

The Master of Cabestany was sculptor who worked during 12th century, from around 1130 to around 1180.  His name is not known.  His work has been identified in the ecclesiastical buildings from Tuscany to Navarre, most notably in the Languedoc and Catalonia. 

His style is extremely crude in comparison to that of classical Greek and Roman sculptors, but superior to that of most of his contemporaries in medieval Christendom.  His lively work is identifiable by a number of distinctive characteristics, notably disproportionately large hands with fine long fingers; triangular faces with no chin but large foreheads, large wide-open almond-shaped eyes with drilled pupils; and attempts at perspective.  Some notable examples are:

Sarcophagus at st-Hilaire.. 
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  • the tympanum of the church of Notre Dame des Anges at Cabastany, from where the anonymous scultor takes his pseudonym. (Cabestany is near Perpignan in the Roussillon) - see detail on the right. The broken tympanum can be seen inside the church. It shows the Assumption.
  • the sarcophagus at the abbey of Saint-Hilaire (near Limoux in the Razès, Aude département) - Now used as an alter in a chapel of the church. see picture below on the right
  • the capital of the Assumption in the church at Rieux-Minervois (Aude département)
  • the main doorway of the abbey at Lagrasse (in the Corbières, Aude département)
  • Sarcophagus at st-Hilaire.. 
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  • two capitals in the apse of the church at St-Papoul (Aude département)
  • the west doorway of the abbey of Sant-Pere-de-Rodes (Catalonia)
  • Freize and modilions on the doorway of the church of Sainte Marie at Boulou (Roussillon)
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Abbey.
Master of
Cabestany