Saint-Savin sur Gartempe
Date: ca. 1100
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): France
Dimensions: nave 42 × 6 m
Description: A basilica dedicated to a legendary local martyr, Savin, on the Gartempe River in France was part of a Benedictine monastery rebuilt in the mid-eleventh century. It boasts an extensive series of wall paintings completed around 1100. There are paintings in the crypt (showing the life of Savin and his brother), the west porch (mostly drawn from the book of Revelation), and the tall tribune above the porch that opens into the nave (mainly Passion scenes), but most are in the tall barrel vault of the nave. There, the Old Testament books of Genesis and part of Exodus unfurl in two registers on each side of the vault, moving mostly—but not entirely—from west to east. These include episodes from Creation, Cain and Abel, and the lives of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. In all of these scenes, God is shown with the cross-nimbus of Christ, and subsidiary figures are dressed in early eleventh-century garb. Vignettes drawn from traditional fables are inserted into some of the scenes.
Image Credits: Linda Safran
Tags: Christian, Western European, Access to the sacred, Animals, Bible, Clothing and adornment, Monasticism