The South Transept Portal (or Count's Portal)

before 1082-83

According to Quitterie and Daniel Cazes, these carvings were made before 1082-83 when the Bishop of Toulouse expelled the Canons of St. Sernin because he believed they were not following the rules for Canons. The Pope arbitrated the case and they were reinstated the following year. But this conflict caused a break in the building of the church (12).
The Count's Portal is at the southern end of the south arm of the transept. (See plan.) Each doorway has a shallow porch with columns supporting the arches; they are part marble and topped by historiated capitals. Several of the eight capitals are depicted below. A number of vices are illustrated-lust and avarice for example, with monster demons attaching the sinners.


The left side (west) of the portal with capitals depicting demons attacking sinners


Right side of portal

The two capitals here illustrate the parable of Dives and Lazarus. In the left capital, Lazarus' soul is being carried to heaven by angels. They lift a mandorla with a small naked figure that symbolizes Lazarus' soul. On the right the rich man feasts at his table with a servant to his right. The haloed figure represents Lazarus whose wounds are licked by dogs. This theme is popular in Romanesque art. See, for example, the porch of Saint Pierre at Moissac.


Left: modillions on the cornice above the door with heads of humans and animals; center and right: fragments of Paleo-Christian stone coffins set into one of the piers

The reliefs depict pastoral and hunting scenes. The ancient coffins were reused in the 11th century.

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

Go to Saint-Sernin Index.

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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.