Avertissement ! (for adults only)
It may come as a surprise that all the Romanesque sculptures on this site figure on the walls of twelfth-century Romanesque churches in Europe. They have miraculously survived destruction due to weather, neglect, obscurantism or religious wars. The sculptures are scattered throughout Europe from Norway to Sicily, from Ireland to Poland, sometimes perched high on soaring vaults, sometimes on capitals lost in the darkness of lonely rural chapels. Many are completely unknown to the general public.
And yet they bear witness to a surprising, fascinating folk art which spread across Europe three centuries before the Renaissance. Of course the local sculptors received instructions from the Catholic clergy, but they clearly did as they pleased and readily interpreted the set themes in their own way, sometimes with delightful naivety. They even gibed at their own patrons with a forthrightness we seldom see these days. It is the little known role of these anti-establishment artisans that we have highlighted here, along with their undeniable talent. And yet the attitude of the faithful has changed in the meantime – a point which may be of interest to sociologists.
Overcoming numerous technical obstacles, Raymond Cauchetier, a member of the French Archaeological Society, with the precious help of his wife, Kaoru, spent twenty years inventorying these forgotten treasures, before pollution, urbanism and pillage finally destroy them. Visitors are offered a glimpse of them here.
© Raymond Cauchetier *****
Click on the pictures to enlarge