Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Column Art

This little bit of sculpture adorns one of the columns inside the church of St.-Ours in the medieval fortress city of Loches. This is the church you've been seeing in the previous exterior shots with the four pointed towers. It's a design I haven't seen a lot of around here.

A grotesque, or chimera, carved into this column capital.

I suppose that most of the interior of the church was painted at one time. If you look closely at the image, you might be able to see traces of color on the sculpture. Most medieval churches, and many renaissance ones, were elaborately painted when they were new.


  1. As you said interiors of churches and cathedrals were painted. Some still are and two of them come to mind, Notre-Dame-la-Grande in Poitiers and Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, the so-called French Sistine Chapel, in the same region.

  2. I wonder why the creatures or people depicted in stonework were usually so ugly, often with tongues sticking out. It doesn't seem to fit with the architects' overall quest for beauty.

  3. Great shot. How did you get such a great close-up?

  4. Jean, even the pervert of the village had to be represented (lol).
    I think those creatures were supposed to scare monsters.

  5. chm, it is really amazing when you see one fully painted how our concept of bare stone churches and cathedrals is very different from the historical reality.

    jean, I think nadege is correct; I read that they were intended to ward off evil spirits, or even scare people so that they would seek comfort in the church.

    starman, zoom lens!

    nadege, I think that's right (the second part).


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