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San Clemente a Casáuria, west portal, lintel, scenes from the history of the abbey

San Clemente a Casáuria, west portal, lintel, scenes from the history of the abbey

The abbey of San Clemente a Casáuria in the Abruzzo was founded in 873 by the Carolingian ruler, Louis II, King of Italy and Emperor (850-875). The church and community were reformed and restored in the late 11th-century. Situated on the road from Rome to the Adriatic, the monastery had a refuge for pilgrims, some of whom travelled this route on the way to the shrine of St. Michael – the archangel is represented in the left tympanum at Casáuria – at Monte Gargano in Apulia or to the Adriatic ports for voyages to the Holy Land. Abbot Leonate (1155-1182) undertook a major building program, initating a new church with the west porch and portals and commissioning a cartulary/chronicle of the abbey’s history and privileges (the Chronicon Casauriense). That enterprise is reflected in the decoration of the lintel which – with its remarkably detailed inscriptions – presents the acquisition and translation of the relics of St. Clement, through the intervention of Pope Adrian II (867-872) and Emperor Louis II; the acquisition of lands; and the installation of Abbot Romanus. At the center of the lintel, there is a model of the church, originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity, set between waters that provide a topographical reference to the insula casauriense where the abbey was founded and an allusion to the boundaries of its territories. To the right, Emperor Louis II invests Abbot Romanus, the first abbot of the monastery, with his staff, while pointing to the church. In the next scene, the knight, Sisenandus, and Bishop Grimaldus of Penne present charters to the emperor ceding territories and privileges alongwith a basket of flowers and fruits, representing the fertile lands transferred to the abbey with the emperor’s authorization. See: L. Feller, “La fondation de San Clemente a Casauria et sa représentation iconographique,” Mélanges de l’École Française de Rome 94 (1982), 711-28; G. Fossi, “L’Abbazia di S. Clemente a Casauria. Il Monumento dal IX al XII sec. Leonate e la decorazione plastica dei portali,” Quaderni dell’Istituto di Archeologia e Storia antica dell’Università di Chieti 2 (1982), 161-86; Pierlugi Leone de Castris, “San Clemente a Casáuria,” in Enciclopedia dell’Arte Medievale. 2008. D'Emilio photo archive no. s19771212_396u (13.05.08/JD)
Galleries: Abbots, Architectural models, Bishops, Charters and deeds, Emperors, Historiated lintels, Inscriptions, Italy 1170s, Italy 1180s, Knights, Monks, Romanesque Sculpture, San Clemente a Casáuria (Abruzzo), Tituli in stone sculpture
Keywords: crown, gift, throne
Photo Location: San Clemente a Casáuria (Abruzzo), Italy
Photographer: Dr. James D’Emilio
Device Make: Nikon
Device Model: Nikon SUPER COOLSCAN 5000 ED
Original Dimensions: 5301×3321
Picture Orientation: Landscape
GPS Coordinates:
Picture Number: 22748