PJ and I have remarked over and over how we have had the honor and pleasure of meeting people throughout France (and indeed the world) through the Via Lucis project. Two years ago we were in the Charente-Maritime region of France and stopped by the Prieuré Sainte Gemme, a lovely Romanesque church on an open square in the small commune (population about 1270). The church was closed but as we looked around, a man exited from an attached building and started to mount a bicycle. We introduced ourselves and asked about the church. He was on his way to a meeting, but took time out to show us the church and to open the small museum that he maintained in the adjacent monastic building. We did not have as much time as we would normally take, but were delighted to have been on time to see the church at all.
That man was Andreï Vlad, who subsequently contacted us through Facebook on his site Prieuré de Sainte Gemme.
Since we have been following his work, we have noticed that he has been developing 3D models of the Prieuré de Sainte Gemme and its development through the centuries. In the course of our conversation, we agreed to collaborate on some articles on the the Prieuré de Sainte Gemme using his models and descriptions. PJ and I will append some of the photographs that we took on our too-short visit.
The article, “Relevé et Restitutions” will be published in French and then in English, with my feeble translation. The article describes how 3D modeling and visualization of the history of the structure reveals the changes made to the site that we view today.
Andreï Gheorghe Vlad
Andreï comes from Roumania where he trained as an architect. He lives and works today in the former monastic buildings of the priory of Sainte-Gemme, where we met him in Fall 2012. He is dedicated to the restoration of the site and to understanding the history of this superb medieval monument. He has also opened the small museum in the adjacent monastic building.
Andreï has published numerous articles and publications on medieval architecture in the Saintonge:
• A. Gh. Vlad, Le prieuré de Pont-l’Abbé d’Arnoult. Etude architecturale (Roccafortis n° 32, septembre 2003, p. 215-224)
• A. Gh. Vlad, Une maison Renaissance à Saint-Jean d’Angle (Roccafortis n° 36, septembre 2005, p.91-99)
• A. Gh. Vlad, Le prieuré casadéen de Sainte-Gemme (Roccafortis n° 38, septembre 2006, p. 199-203)
• Du nouveau au prieuré de Sainte-Gemme : le bâtiment claustral Sud et l’église priorale (Roccafortis n° 40, septembre 2007, p. 332-334)
• A. Gh. Vlad, Le presbytère de Pont-l’Abbé d’Arnoult, une maison urbaine du Moyen-Âge (Roccafortis n°41, janvier 2008, p.23-28)
• A. Gh. Vlad, L’église prieurale de Sainte-Gemme (Roccafortis n° 42, septembre 2008, p. 72-81)
• A. Gh. Vlad, Observations concernant le développement de la ville de Pont-l’Abbé-d’Arnoult (Le bulletin de la Société d’Histoire et d’Archéologie en Saintonge maritime n° 33-2012, p. 23)
• article : « L’implantation casadéenne en Saintonge et le prieuré de Sainte-Gemme (Charente-Maritime) » dans Monastères entre Loire et Charente, PUR édition, 2013 (le site de l’éditeur, Presse Universitaire de Rennes:
• A. Gh. Vlad & Nathalie Soline, Le prieuré de Sainte-Gemme, histoire, architecture, sculpture, restitutions, 1ere (2011, 50 pages) et 2emme (2013, 64 pages) éditions de la brochure, épuisées, en cours de réimpression
The Prieuré Sainte-Gemme website is an excellent resource on the priory church and features models, photos, text, research and videos.