The abbey of Saint-Gilles is a commune in the Gard department of southern France, formed around the nucleus of the abbey which was the first stopping point for Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The former abbey church was listen in 1998 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as parts of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.
The abbey church's west portal is among the most beautiful of the great Romanesque portals and a definitive example of the Provençal Romanesque. During the French Wars of Religion the Protestants fortified themselves within the abbey, which was severely damaged.
This iconoclasm can be seen on this high-relief, the original of which can be found on the west portal of the abbey church. The sculpture depicts the Apostle Thomas with an open book, an asset often found in depictions of him. Other sculptures of a similar style depicting Saints, Archangels and Apostles line the facades of the church.
These figures are typical of the formulaic, frontally posed high relief niche statues characteristic of the southern French Romanesque style. Their bodies appear slightly elongated in proportions, a feature which may optically correct when viewed at an angle from below as the visitor passes through the portal.