By now you know I have a total ladybone for Romanesque art, most especially Romanesque sculpture. The column capitals in the Église Saint-Pierre in Chauvigny, France, have been on my must see list for a long time, and they certainly did not disappoint.
The good stuff is in the 12 century choir, which was “restored” in 1856. This restoration, which as far as I can tell was mostly a bright paint job, is of dubious authenticity and would never happen now, but does make the carvings easy to view. Also unusual for church sculpture of this time–we know the name of the artist. Written above the capital of the Gifts of the Magi, is carved “GEOFRIDUS ME FECIT” meaning “Gofridus made me.”
Godfridus created a weird mix of secular and religious sculptures: a few bible stories thrown in with fabulous animals and their usual endearing mix-up of heads and sinuous beast limbs. The figures are naïve, all big eyes and gigantic hands. What Godfridus lacks in sophistication he makes up in design skill–these sculptures are quite well designed for a four-sided space and wrap around in a cohesive picture. If possible, visit the church several times throughout the day to catch his work in varying light.
How we got to Chauvigny: bus from Saint-Savin.
Where we slept: Hotel Beausejour. Price: €46 for a double. Recommended: yes.
GEOFRIDUS ME FECIT Gofridus made me
The whore of Babylon showing her hussy attributes–a bottle of perfume, some makeup and a fitted dress.
His facial hair is the envy of many a hipster.
Manticores: my favorite mythical beasts.
I know the feeling….
Interior of Saint-Pierre