Sunday, October 29, 2017

Aix-En-Provence Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur

Generally speaking, the older and more ramshackle a cathedral, the more interesting we find it. Saint-Sauveur in Aix is hard to beat in that regard. We have seen older cathedral renovations: e.g.,  a baroque church built on top of a Greek Doric temple in Sicily. But Saint-Sauveur was built on top of the Roman forum, incorporating bits of it, first as a parish church, then revised as the church of one of the orders, then finally revised as a cathedral when Aix became the capital. It's always fascinating to see the layers of Romanesque, Gothic, then Baroque, side by side or one on top of the other. Add a conspicuous layer of Roman, or Greek, and you really have something.
Facade of the cathedral complex

Guess who attended the university across the street

Gothic facade

Helpful floor-plan; looks like a conventional nave with two side
aisles; but it's more complicated than that, with the aisles
(and chapels) having come in in different ages and for different

It's all fascinating, but the Baptistry is the most fascinating:
eight Roman columns with Corinthian capitals, recycled from
the Forum; we'll see this octagonal baptistry design again in
Frejus, a few miles down the road

Gothic nave/aisle

Interesting non-Christian-looking pediment up
high in the Romanesque nave

Few windows

So visits to the cloisters are by guided tour only, so we interrupt
this visit to the cathedral to have a look into the Romanesque

Thus nicely landscaped

The carving quite good, old, generally well-preserved

"Please proceed to the left"

The capitals in the four corners are the attributes of the four
gospel writers; here, my personal favorite, the lion, Mark 

Highly regarded statue of St. Peter

Now in the Baptistry, looking up at the dome and oculus, much
later additions

Original baptistry pool, the oldest bit, going back to early
Christian times

Remnant of painting in Baptistry

Remnant of mosaic, on the wall, thus probably very late
Roman, Roman/Christian

Ample info on evolution of the Baptistry

The pediment again

Vaulting in Gothic aisle

Barrel vaulting in Romanesque nave

Note the non-Christian-looking little columns up high

Exposed bit of the Roman Forum under the church

Crossing...fascinating church!

1 comment:

Tawana said...

Well, of course, you would like the Lion, Mark...