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Pilgrimage churches of eastern Aquitaine and Liturgical Sculpture. The example of Saint-Geraud abbey and it chancel screen (Aurillac, Cantal - 11/12th centuries)

Abstract : At the western borders of Auvergne, the Saint-Geraud abbey of Aurillac (Cantal) found at the end of the 9th century shows up for the Romanesque period the existence of an important but scattered building decor. For a long time focused on specifics pieces as capitals some liturgicals elements were misunderstood by the historiography. In the Romanesques sculptures Corpus of the monastery (11-beginning of the 13th century) could be found some elements came out from liturgicals screens : plates and pilar fragment. Made at the end of the 11th century those carved elements permit a better understanding of the liturgicals installations in the pilgrimage churches. As large it is, the pilgrimage church should make choices to set up circulation spaces. The choir enclosure is one of the mains solutions. First goal wished, to separate the monk and the layman but also to preserve for the both the virtus of the saint, here Gerald of Aurillac. Several points should be questioned. How the saint Géraud cult have impacted the Aurillac abbey church ? Those liturgical screens are chancel plates or differents and more recents pluteum ? Moreover, those liturgicals sculptures shows up decoratives formulas of the western Auvergne, a testimony of ornemental choices which are present in all the territories of the feodal Aquitaine of the 11th and 12th centuries. With their wilds beasts representations and smooth leaves, its appears linked to the sculpture of others monasteries of the French Massif Central (Menat, Limoges) but also more distant as the Poitou churches. To these decorative criterias, could be add the dimensions and material characteristics which are others elements to consider to having datations. A third and last element of a Romanesque chancel screen is the top of pilar fragment. Covered on two faces by cross pattées it seems to belong to other screen structure, probably also from another church which is contain in the walls of the monastery as Saint-Clement. Those pieces could permit a better understanding of the liturgical spaces and also ornamental choices for this important Saint-Geraud abbey at the eastern borders of Duchy of Aquitaine, a step on the Santiago road.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02954775
Contributor : Sylvain Chardonnet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 12:21:00 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 5:07:20 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, January 4, 2021 - 8:46:20 AM

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Sylvain Chardonnet. Pilgrimage churches of eastern Aquitaine and Liturgical Sculpture. The example of Saint-Geraud abbey and it chancel screen (Aurillac, Cantal - 11/12th centuries). Liturgical Installations and Their Sculpture (4-15 C.)., Oct 2020, Rab, Croatia. 2020. ⟨hal-02954775⟩

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