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Of Sirens and Onocentaurs: A Romanesque Apocalypse at Montceaux-l'Etoile

William J. Travis
Artibus et Historiae
Vol. 23, No. 45 (2002), pp. 29-62
Published by: IRSA s.c.
DOI: 10.2307/1483681
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1483681
Page Count: 34
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Of Sirens and Onocentaurs: A Romanesque Apocalypse at Montceaux-l'Etoile
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Abstract

Focusing on the relationship between word and image at Montceaux-l'Etoile, this essay argues that a pair of capitals representing a siren and an onocentaur functioned as a sculptural commentary on the apocalyptic notion that "the time is near." From a broader perspective, this interpretation opens up a new way to read the Romanesque sculpture of Burgundy as word images, where capitals evoked specific phrases from scripture and the choice of phrases determined the overall program; comparisons to Autun and Vézelay suggest that these churches adopted a similar method. Eighty-one texts collected in the appendix set out the evidence for the siren and onocentaur in early medieval thought.

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