Architect's tomb slab

Type: Sculptures, Tombs
Date: 1231
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): France
Medium: Stone
Dimensions: H 2.78 m
Description: This well-preserved tomb slab depicts Hugues Libergier, an architect who died in 1263 in Reims. His tomb was originally in the abbey church of Saint-Nicaise in Reims, which Hugues designed in the Gothic style. After that church was destroyed in 1800, the slab was moved to Reims Cathedral, where it is mounted in the north transept.

The well-dressed Hugues is shown holding a miniature model of Saint-Nicaise and a measuring rod 1.57 m long. At his feet are two other tools of the contemporary architect's trade, a compass and a square, used to facilitate stonecutting. He stands in a Gothic-looking structure complete with crockets and carved capitals, surmounted by angels. Hugues measures 2.1 meters from hat to toes, which is probably taller than his actual height.

The French inscription on the slab states that Saint-Nicaise was begun in 1229, but this is contradicted by contemporary sources that say the first stone was laid in 1231. The carver confused his Roman numerals, incising MCCXXIX instead of MCCXXXI. The inscription exhorts viewers to pray for the deceased "who began this church" (qui comensa ceste église).
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 8
Image Credits: Adam S. Cohen, Linda Safran

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Detail, tomb slab of architect Hugues Libergier, d. 1263, Reims Cathedral Oblique view, tomb slab of architect Hugues Libergier, d. 1263, Reims Cathedral