The Miègeville Portal: portal and tympanum--page 1 (of 3 pages)


View of the south side of the church looking toward the front (west)

See plan.

The Miègeville Door

The door's name derives from the fact that it opens on to the street that formerly ran through the center of town (mièja vila) following essentially the plan of the ancient Roman cardo maximus (Quitterie and Daniel Cazes 13).

Tympanum with the Ascension--comprised of five stone blocks

Here Christ, standing in profile with raised hands, ascends into heaven assisted by two angels. Four additional angels seem to be worshipping or singing his praises. Clouds separate this scene from the lintel below with Apostles.


Four additional angels flank the ascending Christ

Although it is generally thought that this depiction derives from manuscript illumination, the execution is remarkable with each figure contained within a single block of stone. Note that the disposition of the wings fits the panel and, oddly, haloes are encased by wings.

Folds and pleats

Note the depiction of drapery in these garments. Some critics see a similarity in the representation of clothing to the personages in the ambulatory reliefs by Bernard Gelduin. (See ambulatory.)

The lintel with the Apostles

The Apostles are lined up on the lintel witnessing the event; they gesticulate, hold objects (books or in the case of Peter, directly under Christ, his symbolic key), and look heavenward. These twelve are flanked by two angels "reminding them that the Ascension is also a promise of the Return of the Messiah and the possibility of entering the kingdom of heaven" (Quitterie and Daniel Cazes 14).

Continue to page 2.

Works Consulted or Quoted:
Quitterie and Daniel Cazes. Visiting Saint-Sernin's Basilica. SUD-OUEST, 1994 [Official Guide.]

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© 2008 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.