✿ The Artist (PJ McKey) ✿


During the Romanesque period, the arts were pressed into service by the church as a medium of mass-communication with which to address an ever-increasing but largely illiterate public. The teachings of the church, the hierarchy of society, and the relationship of the church and the secular world provided  the subject matter. But that said, how […]

Abbaye Saint Gildas-de-Rhuys (Dennis Aubrey)


The former province of Bretagne is one of the most interesting areas in France. The medieval Duchy was primarily Celtic instead of Germanic, spoke Brythonic Celtic, one of the two branches of the Celtic language, but was deeply allied with the French crown. The Bretons replaced Latin with French as the official language of the […]

Our Lady of Bernay (Dennis Aubrey)


The abbey church Notre Dame de Bernay is one of the earliest examples of Norman Romanesque architecture that remains to us. It is no longer a consecrated church and currently serves as a community exhibition hall and tourist attraction in the center of the town of Bernay. It was empty when we shot there in […]

Mysterium Tremendum (Dennis Aubrey)


I should let everyone know right now that they can hold Gordon Stewart accountable for this post. The blame is entirely his because he should know by now the fascination certain phrases have for me and how they lead me down arcane and convoluted passes. On a recent post he wrote “As I read your […]

✿ If I could be … ✿ (Dennis Aubrey)


If I were the photographer I wanted to be, would it be Helmar Lerski, whose faces burn into one’s soul with a “harsh and beautiful light”? Would I be Edouard Boubat, who made the ordinary marvelous? Certainly I would have thought that faces would be my subject, looking for the elusive and dangerous soul. But […]

The Redeemer’s Almond (Dennis Aubrey)


To honor Easter Sunday, we’ll post a selection of shots of Christ in Majesty from various Romanesque portals in France. The first is the exquisite centerpiece of the north portal tympanum at Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. Sophisticated and elegant, the sculpture still has traces of the original polychrome paint. The following image from the western portal tympanum of […]

Sculpted facades in the Aquitaine (Dennis Aubrey)


We have written many times about the devastation experienced by so many churches in this region. Three great convulsions did most of the damage – the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, and the French Revolution. Sometimes it seems miraculous that anything survived, but survive these churches did. The architectural glories of the Charente-Maritime, […]

✿ Gofridus me fecit ✿ (PJ McKey)


One incredible feature of Romanesque art in all forms is the fact that the creators are, for the most part, anonymous. No headlines, no public tributes or fame acknowledge their skill and accomplishments. It was enough to create for the greater glory and love of God. The capital sculpture in the churches offers a clear […]