Luxurious church of Romanesque style
The West Facade portal of St-Gilles Du Gard seems to be a detailed but an uneasy representation of many divergent parts. The frieze retains their detail despite the seasonal winds from the Mediterranean causing them to erode and lose shape. The replica of St-Gilles Gard in Carnegie museum, which was made of plaster casts also miss too much details. However, we still can see the west portal is a luxurious example of the early Romanesque style. This important pilgrimage church was influenced by the Roman architecture and sculpture in the era as well as early Christian sculpture. There are three portals on the west facade of St-Gilles. The entrance portals are recessed with carved tympana above the doorways. The lintels of the doorways are carved and connect with the friezes above the colonnades flanking the main portal. The eclectic facade of St-Gilles provides a sculptured frieze showing the consequential events of the Holy Week as well as the Passion of Christ. The sections run from left to right depicting the series of events as they occurred.
The stories on the frieze start with the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Because we could see that there is halo and cross behind Christ’s head, so that we could recognize that man is Christ. We can use this way to recognize the Christ in the rest of sculptures on frieze as well. This sculpture clearly shows Christ riding on a donkey with his apostles following him with twigs of palm tree on their hands. In front of Christ are two witnesses spreading their cloaks on His path as the Apostles follow him waving the ceremonial palm fronds. The statues of the Apostles display strong and effortless motion, exhibited by the sculptured folds of their clothing. In addition, their heads turn towards one another in exquisite profiles, which depict excited conversations among themselves. The sculpture of Christ chasing traders away from the temple follows with figures of traders saving their properties from destruction. For instance, the money-changer standing near Christ uses a portion of his garment to save a heap of money as he runs away; the man in front of Christ flees carrying doves in his hands. Another man on the furthest part of the sculpture turns towards Christ as he mockingly shakes a bag of coins to him depicting the perception of Jews as money usurer and moneylenders. Together with fleeing traders, pairs of sacrificial sheep and oxen appear to run away towards the right. The frieze section that follows shows that of Christ washing His disciples’ feet. On this portion, Peter is seen seated on a stool as Christ washes Peter’s feet using water from a basin made of clay. Peter's sitting position and gesture depict a mood of sorrow and regret. In this story, because we know that there is a rooster under Peter’s feet, we know the story is rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Christ had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." Then he broke down and wept. So we know the there is a story between rooster, Peter and Christ. This sculpture shares the same frieze section with the disciples seated at a table sharing the last supper with Christ. A drapery covers the wide table, although the faces of the disciples are obscure due to the iconic destruction over the centuries. Therefore, it is unable to tell the mood and emotions articulated at this particular event. Two disciples occupy the left and right edges of the table. The disciple on the far left cuts a round piece of loaf using a knife and the one on the right holds a paschal lamb, which is a symbol of the Jewish Passover.
The sculpture that follows demonstrates the arrest of Christ at the Gethsemane. This particular sculpture shows Judas grasping Christ shoulder as if to embrace him, as the tall Christ inclines towards him to give in to the traitor’s ‘kiss’. Christ’s head is skillfully carved to depict an expression of great understanding and readiness for what is ahead of him. On the right-hand side of Christ stands a man who seems to be pulling him towards himself. On the left-hand side of Judas stands, a guard preparing to pull out his sword; his forward-peaked helmet presents his pagan identity. To the extreme right of the frieze shows the judgment of Christ before Pilate. On the far left of this sculpture shows a guard pulling the bound Christ before Pilate. The Pilate seemingly appears to be extremely huge as compared to his attendants although he is seated, indicating the hieratic power of the Roman Empire. His open pose also depicts hi