Romanesque Art in Brittany
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Romanesque Art in Brittany

Many influences played a part in the Romanesque Art of Brittany, particularly those from its near neighbours Poitou and Normandy. The great Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys, built in yellow granite on the ambulatory plan, derives from the Loire Region; its panelled nave is lit directly by high windows. The extremely enigmatic rotunda of Lanleff still baffles archaelogists who try to see in its plan some Druidic temple to the Sun.

The first Cistercians arrived in about 1130 to build  solid abbeys. They are in eternal granite, and according to the  architectural prescriptions of the Order. The Abbey of Boquen, in a quiet valley on the edge of a forest, dates from 1137. Such abbeys were the means by which the Romanesque Style was brought to Brittany. The surprising tower of Saint-Sauveur in Redon, with its three rows of different arcades, one above the other, its rounded angles and its combination of dark sandstone with light granite, is one of the earliest examples of it.

The Abbey-Church of Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, though destroyed by the Vikings, retains a 9th century crypt and is one of the most venerable and moving churches in France. It has a shadow-filled nave, barely enlivened by the pink brick which alternates with the stone. Under its vaults, it is all too easy to imagine the fear that seized the monks when they heard the ferocious cries of the Scandinavian pirates sailing around to the mouth of the Loire.

Many influences played a part in the Romanesque Art of Brittany, particularly those from its near neighbours Poitou and Normandy. The great Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys, built in yellow granite on the ambulatory plan, derives from the Loire Region; its panelled nave is lit directly by high windows. The church of Saint-Sauveur in Dinan, harks back to Poitou, and that of Yvignac-La-Tour to Normandy. At Loctudy is a marvellous ambulatory which rings the choir with five arches on round columns and massive capitals. 

The most original Breton architecture comes from the workshops of Pont-Croix, that combines the Romanesque tradition with early Gothic arches, while the extremely enigmatic rotunda of Lanleff still baffles archaelogists who try to see in its plan some Druidic temple to the Sun.

The surprising tower with its three rows of different arcades of the Abbey-Church Saint-Sauveur in Redon (Ille-et-Vilaine), France.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Redon_-_Tour_romane_de_l%27abbatiale_Saint-Sauveur_-_20090704.jpg?uselang=fr

Abbey-Church of Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu (oire Atlantique).

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Abbatiale_de_Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu_%28facade%29.jpg

The nave of the Abbey-Church of Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, in the Carolingian Style.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Abbatiale_de_Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu_-_Nef.jpg

The 9th century crypt, Abbey-Church of Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Abbatiale_Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu_-_Crypte_vue_du_choeur.jpg

Abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys (Morbihan).

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/St_gildas_abbatiale_002.JPG?uselang=fr

Romanesque choir of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys (Morbihan).

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/St_gildas_abbatiale_001.JPG?uselang=fr

Romanesque nave, Church Saint-Sauveur in Dinan (Côtes d'Armor).

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/San_Salvador_de_Dinan_02.JPG?uselang=fr

Church Saint-Malo at Yvignac -La-Tour (Côtes d'Armor)

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/Yvignac-la-Tour_-_%C3%A9glise_1.jpg?uselang=fr

Capitals in the ambulatory of Church Saint-Tudy in Lotudy (Finistère).

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Eglise_saint-Tudy_Loctudy-107.jpg

The enigmatic Rotunda of Lanleff (Côtes d'Armor).

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Temple_de_Lanleff_vue_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9rale_Nord.jpg

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Comments (4)

Excellent profiling of the beautiful art of Romanesque architecture dear Francois. Images are great as always. Happy weekend my friend. 

What amazing and beatufil structures!

Your detail is picturesque and the photographs add to your presentation.thank you for the wonderful journey.

Excellent work. just shared at facebook and twitter.

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