PJ and I have arrived back in the USA, library swollen with an additional 11,000 photos of 44 churches in 37 towns and cities. We have just loaded the images into our Lightroom database and will begin processing in earnest, but thought we might give you a preview of some of the churches that we documented.
The shot of the oven vault at the Église Saint Martin in Polignac is one of the most difficult to take in any manner that makes it comprehensible. The oven vault is a half-dome that covers the apse in a Romanesque church. The center blank section is part of the oven vault, but has lost its fresco covering. The white band at the top is the segment of the crossing arch that separates the apse from the crossing in this small church.
We returned to the colorful Église Saint-Julien de Chauriat which we had not photographed since 2007 and it was even better than we remembered. We got the gigantic key from the Mairie across the street and spent a wonderful few hours there. There is a famous vierge romane on the altar which we will feature again later.
The Église Saint-Martin de Besse in the Dordogne is a wonderful small church in a hilltop village. The interior is much compromised from rebuilds and restorations of dubious quality, but the sculpture, particularly that of the west facade, is extraordinary. This will also get significant attention in a later article.
One of the most important venues for us was to photograph the churches of the Limousin, which we have missed on so many other trips to France. The churches of Benevent-l’abbaye, Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, Le Souterraine, Saint-Léonard de Noblat, Vigeois, and so many others are high on the list of great Romanesque monuments. Two of the most important are the magnificent Collégiale Saint-Pierre-ès-Liens in Le Dorat and the Église abbatiale Saint-Pierre in Solignac.
These Limousin churches were worth the trip all by themselves and we managed to photograph over a dozen.
We look forward to providing more detailed information on these and the many other churches that we photographed. Many of the churches that we worked in possessed beautiful sculpted capitals and portals and there will be much to be said about those. This was the most productive tour in years for me personally because I did not combat health issues, and PJ was as active and prolific as ever. All of these shots are mine, but only as a matter of convenience. Her work was simply superb.