Saint-Lazare Trumeau, West PortalSt. Lazarus Trumeau, West Portal
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène-Emmanuel, 1814-1879
The Cathedral of Saint-Lazare was built between 1120 and 1146 to house relics of St. Lazarus. It also served as a pilgrimage site to lepers seeking the saint's intercession (conflating Gospel stories of the brother of Martha and Mary with the poor beggar who languished on the doorstep of an uncaring rich man traditionally known as Dives). The program of Saint-Lazare's stone carvings was carried out by a Burgundian sculptor named Gislebertus (France, fl. 1100-1150). The trumeau carving for the west portal depicts the cathedral's patron saint, St. Lazarus (center), flanked by his sisters Mary and Martha. These figures are directly beneath the figure of Christ enthroned in glory in the center of the tympanum's Last Judgment composition. The Gospels testify to the deep friendships among Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Martha declared her faith that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God; Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead; and, Mary was the first person to whom Jesus appeared as the risen Christ after his death.However, the authenticity of the trumeau representations cannot be verified. In 1766 members of the Saint-Lazare Cathedral chapter effaced west portal decorations, believing they reflected the spirituality of a superstitious age. The existence of the carvings was rediscovered through a 15th C. document in 1837. In 1860 French architect and theorist Viollet-le-Duc began to restore the damage, but parts had been lost. The figures of Lazarus, Martha and Mary are 19th C. reconstructions of the discarded trumeau without the possibility of comparing them to the original figures that greeted 12th C. worshipers.ca. August 1981
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