Abbaye de Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe – The Murals, Part 1

As I mentioned yesterday, Abbaye de Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1983.

The Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe is a masterpiece of the murals of the 11th and 12th centuries. Its outstanding character is due to its extraordinary decor, testimony to the art of representing and painting in western Christian medieval civilization.


So let’s jump in, shall we?

The entire church is covered from floor to ceiling in striking art. What stands out immediately is the vaulted ceiling above the nave with its murals depicting the books of Genesis and Exodus.

Once you get past your initial shock and awe, you’ll start to notice that the rest of the church is chock full of interesting pieces of art begging to be looked at.

The columns have been painted in colours to compliment the murals, in an almost marble effect.

You soon realise that the brick walls aren’t actually brick – but instead a painted effect.

No surface is left untouched.

In any other church, I’d be happy to see stained glass windows surrounded by blank walls. But here, it’s almost necessary that they be framed by painted panels. Under the curved arches you can see the heads of Saints.

To read the full UNESCO entry, check it out here.

I’ll be back tomorrow. Until then..

Bonne journée!


6 thoughts on “Abbaye de Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe – The Murals, Part 1

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