Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The big picture

Here's a wide shot of the interior of the church of Saint-Martin in Ligueil. I was standing in the center aisle with the main entrance at my back. Above my head, a balcony where a large pipe organ was installed had been closed off to the public (otherwise I would have climbed up there for the photo).

The pointed arches and ribbed vaults at the back end of the church are typical gothic features.

An interesting feature of this church is the wooden barrel-vaulted ceiling over the nave. I've seen this same style of construction in a few other churches in our area, right down to the painted tie beams that span the space. I think this ceiling may be a vestige of the romanesque style as it transitioned into the gothic period. When this church was constructed, between the 12th and 13th centuries, the transition was in full swing. The stone work from the transept into the choir is very obviously gothic (pointed arches and ribbed vaults, for example), but there's nothing gothic about the barrel vault.


  1. Must have been very frustrating for those in the congregation (probably most of them) to have such a restricted or non-existent view of the altar.

  2. Nothing Gothic at all about that barrel vault, I'll say! What a great, wooden celing, and a wonderful photo of it.

  3. Walt

    Was it a Cistercian church at one point?
    Reason I asked : the form of the ceiling.

  4. That is quite impressive. It reminds me of the church in Honfleur whose ceiling is basically two ship hulls turned upside down. Which makes a lot of sense there. But why here? Because of wine barrel technology ?!

  5. I've never seen a wooden barrel-vaulted ceiling like that. Fascinating. And beautiful. I love the light and color. Very different from the Gothic (and Gothic-ish) churches here.

    (Note: Should I be concerned that we're talking about a church and my authentication code was 666?)

  6. raybeard, I understand there are a lot of frustrated catholics out there.

    judy, thanks!

    t.b., not at all sure...

    stuart, just typical ceiling construction for the time, I guess.

    mitch, only if Max von Sydow shows up at your door.


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