25 September 2019

L'Église de Saint-Aignan : peintures murales

I've posted several images and photos of the Romanesque church in Saint-Aignan over the past couple of weeks. Now here are some photos of the medieval wall paintings in the older church building on top of which which today's imposing church was built. The église basse — the lower church — is now the crypt of the larger building. The crypt is dark and I think I might have taken some of these photos using a flash. They are seven years old, and I've posted some of them before, but it was a long time ago and I've never before made them into a slideshow. The show runs for just 90 seconds.

The Michelin Loire Valley guidebook says the lower church, which was dedicated to St. John, was undoubtedly the original sanctuary. Later, it was used as stables or a root cellar during the French Revolution. It says the wall paintings are remarkable and describes some of the figures depicted in them. The Cadogan Loire guidebook says the crypt is the high point of the church (is that supposed to be funny?).  The author says the fact that the crypt was used as a wine cellar in the 19th century saved it from major restorations that might have ruined the paintings or at least diminished their beauty and their historical significance.


  1. To me, this art seems very beautiful and I am so glad it was not destroyed nor lost in any way.

  2. I like your slideshows. That crypt has quite a history.

  3. Beautiful and definitely pre-Renaissance without the use of perspective. So nice to see these. As for the crypt being the "high point," maybe the writers at Cadogan Loire sit around and insert inside jokes for fun to liven things up...

    So glad the church has not reached out to Spain for restoration of these frescoes, as a more recent example demonstrates:


    1. Thank you D... for the link. I’m wondering if this sculpture and this painting can be de-restored, so they can be restored the right way? In a word, can they be saved?

    2. Hi chm, it appears the sculpture has already been restored to the tune of 30,000 Euros. Here's the story: https://www.thelocal.es/20190625/spains-botched-restoration-of-ancient-st-george-statue-gets-a-proper-makeover

      I think the fresco, Ecco Homo has been left as is - apparently it's a big tourist attraction.

    3. Hi D. Tnank you for the new link. Here comes to mind a French saying attributed to saint Bernard de Clairvaux (1091-1153), as "Hell is paved with good intentions or desires," defining what hapened to these two works of art. Interesting that the botched fresco is left as is, since it brings more tourists to see it that way!y


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