What do you do when you are stressed out? Storm outside, lit a cig, down a shot, hit a wall, murmur nasty things about people responsible for your being tensed? Medieval monks would step out to the cloister of their monastery: a peaceful courtyard used for contemplation and murmuring, usually surrounded by a columned gallery around the perimeter.
Visual arts (sculpture) at the time was meant to make them realise the stress they’d brought out to the cloister was insignificant in the general scheme of things.
Fate can have your head on a plate in the most awkward manner at the most inconvenient of times. What petty stress can compare to that? A 10-minute meditation, and – done! Cured of stress free and better than a shrink could do in an hour.
For those who read my previous post about medieval sculpture, this is the cloister of San Zeno Basilic, through which we would enter the Cathedral in the next post.