Sunday, 26 February 2012

Auxerre - the Église Saint-Eusèbe

Lillian :  In this post we'll look at another lovely church - the exterior of the Église Saint-Eusèbe in Auxerre was under renovation when we saw it last April.

Audrey :  The front facade is rather 'wedding cake' and gothic.


Lillian : This church has been built and re-built over the centuries and so there are a variety of styles.  Most of what we saw of the exterior looked, to our untrained eyes, quite gothic.

Audrey :  But we're Blythe dolls - we have 4pairs of eyes each, are they all untwained?

Sign on the Church - lots of building & re-building over the years

Lillian : Oh Audrey, it's a figure of speech - we are untrained in historical architecture.  But here are some links to other web sites if people would like to do further research -
Mapping Gothic France  &
this site is in French

Audrey :  A close-up of a putti and other ornateness.  Let's go inside the church now.

Lillian :  As you step inside the entrance has gothic cruciform pillars then the main parts are Romanesque - lofty, light and lovely. 
White stone, sunshine streaming through all the windows, lots of vertical lines. 


Audrey : We saw vaulting like this at the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne - cross vaults or groin vaults.
Lillian : This is down the nave and the last section is more decorated just like in the Cathedral.

Audrey : The chevet or apse was built in the 1530s and is Late Gothic.  Amazing vaulting, a statue of Mary with Baby in the centre and splendid stained glass windows all around.

Lillian :  These windows were renovated in 1967 - click on the picture to enlarge & see some of the detail.  The pair of windows on the left illustrates the Apocalypse, the next two - the Passion of Christ with the Last Supper, then the Resurrection and the pair to the right that you can't really see in this picture show the story of Solomon and Absalom.
Audrey :  There were other stained glass 'story' windows too - and I was surprised to see this picture in a church!

Lillian :  Umm one of the stories about Joseph, son of Jacob and the Joseph of the technicolour coat.

Audrey :  Looks like Joseph had a lot of trouble keeping his clothes!

Lillian :  Well, that window depicts the story of Potiphar's wife ... here is a Wikipedia article

 This is another part of the Joseph window - and here Joseph's half brothers are selling the young Joseph (who is without his technicolour coat) to the Ishmailite traders (wearing turbans & gorgeously coloured robes) - their camels are in the background. 

Audrey :  With two humps - Bactrian camels.  Those panels of stained glass have a short version of the stories written on fancy scrolls, in French.  Also, in the bottom RH corner this window is signed "Execute Sur la Garton-De Gaussen".

Lillian :   This beautiful window was in one of the chapels or bays down the side of the church. 
Audrey :   A lovely chandelier too - but what gorgeous blue and yellow glass!

Lillian :  Wouldn't that make a lovely fabric?  For curtains or ...
Audrey :  In silk taffeta it would make a really nice sun-dress - 1950's style with a great big skirt & matching bolero.

Lillian : Umm well, the central pictures show the Annunciation (on the left) and the birth of John the Baptist, patron of the Order of Malta - hence the Maltese crosses underneath.

Audrey :  Our stylist likes all the detail of the clothing in these pictures, especially the head-wear ... the young lady in the fore-ground is not about to lose her head scarf, it is tied on around her head & over then under her chin.


Lillian :  Well, enough lovely stained glass perhaps?

We also saw this gilded reliquary.

Audrey :  It is very pretty but we did not look inside - too spooky!

Lillian :  It houses relics of Saint Germanus of Auxerre.

Audrey :  Ok, but this is was not a Church of St Germanus - it is the Église Saint-Eusèbe and that is a funny name so we've looked him up - St Eusebius of Vercelli was born in 283 and became the first Bishop of Vercelli.

Lillian : Before we go back outside let's look back towards the entrance - remember those cruciform pillars?  Over that entrance - almost a narthex - is the pipe organ.  

 Audrey :  Outside again - we had a quick look for gargoyles.  Only found one, but we were in a hurry.

Audrey :  It is an excellent Gargoyle - bat-winged, dog nosed and donkey eared.

Lillian :  And after a little game of hide & seek amongst the pillars we walked to the river Yonne - those photos in our next post.

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