Autun Things to Do

  • Cathedral St. Lazare
    Cathedral St. Lazare
    by Beausoleil
  • Cathedral St. Lazare
    Cathedral St. Lazare
    by Beausoleil
  • Cathedral St. Lazare, stained glass
    Cathedral St. Lazare, stained glass
    by Beausoleil

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    Visit the cathedral St. Lazare

    by Beausoleil Updated Aug 15, 2009
    Cathedral St. Lazare clock
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    We've visited the cathedral in sun and rain and believe me, sun is preferable. The stained glass windows are wonderful on a sunny day. They impress on a dark day, but you really don't get the full effect.

    Click on the photo to get more pictures. There is stained glass and the two magic statues inside that fix this particular cathedral in your mind after you've seen a hundred others. My husband remembered Autun immediately when he saw the two kneeling figures.

    There is a marvelous stone circular staircase inside that is a must-see.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Cathedral St.-Lazare: The West Front Capitals

    by hquittner Written Nov 7, 2008

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    Left Three Capitals of West Front
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    It requires a detailed guide to find all of the original capitals still on the cathedral or to recognize any additions or copies, let alone hw to interpret them.Such a document is for sale. There are 6 capitals supporting the great tympanum of the West Facade that are from Gislebertus, 3 on each side above carved columns. The carving of columns is a new idea and will soon appear in the Closter at Monreale in Sicily. Columnar statues will also shortly be used in St. Denis and Chartres and there are some here in the Rolin Museum. The more medial carvings under the lintel are later additions. Going from left to right through the entire group: 1) Wolf & Crane (Aesop Fable) 20 Abraham Sends Away Hagar & Ishmael 3) Elders of the Apocalypse; (rt) 4) Presentation at the Temple 5)St. Eustace's Conversion 6) Jerome and the Lion

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    Cathedral St.-Lazare: A Jesse Window & A Virgin

    by hquittner Written Nov 7, 2008

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    The Tree of Jesse Window
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    There are other items of interest in the church besides the marvellous capitals. A Chapel half-way down the North side contains a 16C stained glass window of the Tree of Jesse. Almost all of the glass in the cathedral is relatively new but this window is said to be 16C and is quite vivid. Also in the apsidial chapel on the northeast end is a marble statue of the Virgin and Child from the late 15C.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Look At the St. Lazarus' Fountain

    by hquittner Written Nov 7, 2008

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    The Lower Fountain
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    This large structure is located just to the North of the Cathedral in a square. It is quite tall (and we did not have a wide angle lens). There is a complete picture of it in a Things Tip by Pieter11 (#2 of his set) entitled "The Old Center". The fountain was built in 1543. It has two domes and the columns have the classical orders. There is a pelican on top (a copy). The original has been moved to the Rolin Museum. It looks like it was there for the horses but it is pretty.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Musee Rolin: The 15C Sculpture

    by hquittner Written Nov 7, 2008
    St. Catherine
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    The old mansion is approached through an interior courtyard and besides the exhibits, the rooms maintain many of their period appointments: doorways and mantels. They have collected several fine 15C sculptures and paintings and modern works too to supplement the Gislebertus and associates treasures. We saw a fine Deposition, a John the Baptist and a St. Catherine (attributed to Jean de la Huerta), all quite good.

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    Musee Rolin: The 15C Sculpture

    by hquittner Written Nov 7, 2008

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    St. Catherine
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    The old mansion is approached through an interior courtyard and besides the exhibits, the rooms maintain many of their period appointments: doorways and mantels. They have collected several fine 15C sculptures and paintings and modern works too to supplement the Gislebertus and associates treasures. We saw a fine Deposition, a John the Baptist and a St. Catherine (attributed to Jean de la Huerta), all quite good.

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    See St. Andrew's Gate

    by hquittner Written Nov 7, 2008

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    Porte St.-Andre
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    This gate is one of two that still remain as part of the Gallo-Roman walls of ancient Augustodunum. Fragments of the walls alsosurvive. It has two large arches for vehicles and two smaller ones for pedestrians. The top level is an arcaded gallery with 10 arches bearing Ionic pilasters.

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    Study the Capitals Inside the Cathedral

    by hquittner Written Nov 6, 2008

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    The Dream of the Wise Men (See the Star?)
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    The Cathedral of Autun houses more than 65 figurated capitals created by Gislebertus and his assistants from about 1125-45 (50 years after they first began to be made at Moissac and Toulouse). There are a few others on the outside doors. In the Chapter House, reached from inside the church, are about a dozen capitals that were removed from the apse when it was redone. Centuries later copies of some of these have been replaced there when it was realized what a terrible mistake in artistic appraisal had been made by removing them! Be sure to see the originals in the Chapter House; they are some of the best! This is perhaps the finest display of Romanesque capitals in the world. What makes Gislebertus' work so remarkable is his precision, spatial planning and his glimpses of expressivity. Prior to these Tips, only two capitals have appeared in the Autun pages: the Hanging of Judas and Solomon Destroying the Temple (find them). Our first picture is the Angel and the Wise Men's Dream, Two King's on the Tree of Jesse (picking the fruit?), Nole Me Tangere, The Second Temptation of Christ and the Flight into Egypt. Some of these are not in the Chapter House. We will create two Travelogs of more of the capitals with descriptions

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Musee Rolin: More Gislebertus (& Associates?)

    by hquittner Written Nov 3, 2008

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    Unknown Female Assumption
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    A number of works from the talented Gislebertus have been destroyed by the prelates of Autun who found them immoral or not to their tastes. In 1766 a contractor was hired to demolish the North Portal which had a tympanum and associated figures on the Resurrection of Lazarus. The stone was reutilized in nearby new construction and recent remodeling has unearthed Eve and two other pieces from what must have been a part. Other works of the period have also been found and as there are no diagrams or sketches of the intact church only attributions by style are possible while meanings are speculation. One such piece is an Assumption of a female. It is not believed to be Mary but may be the Magdalaine. The other statues assembled also may contemporary or later. (Remember that free standing statues have not yet been found from 1140). The West Portal trumeau pieces have never been found either and their form is also unknown.

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    Spend Time in the Musee Rolin

    by hquittner Updated Nov 2, 2008

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    Nativity (15C)-
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    The city of Autun was lucky to have the Rolin mansion in which to house its artistic treasures. They range from pieces found in the excavations of its Roman antiquities to the works by Gislebertus and others recovered from the depredations of the prudish churchmen of yore. To this have been added the works commissioned or purchased by its residents over the centuries. So much so that a second building (the next door Hotel Lacomme) had to be added to hold them all. The works are not too many but they are all of high quality. The early paintings are particularly noteworthy. Like his father before him Cardinal Rolin found a great artist to commission who included his portrait as patron. It is a Nativity by Jean Hey, who was until recently not known by name but as the Master of Moulins. In the same room are a fine primitive crucifixion and two other excellent works.

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    Musee Rolin: The Gallo-Roman Finds

    by hquittner Updated Nov 2, 2008

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    The Chieftan's Helmet
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    In the annex building on the ground floor are a number of interesting and attractive Gallo-Roman finds unearthed in the locality. These range from the fine Chieftan's ceremonial helmet with foliated ear guards, to rough bas-reliefs like the Boatman's pillar at the Cluny; there were well-worked colored mosaics, statuettes of various cults and a ceramic statuette-mold suggesting a local manufacturer.

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    Find the Relics of St. Lazarus & The Tomb Remnants

    by hquittner Written Nov 1, 2008

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    Martha & Mary Magdalaine
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    There once was an elaborated tomb to St. Lazarus and a place to demonstrate his Relics behind the altar.In a remodeling the chancel in 1766, it was decided to destroy the tomb because the Pilgrimage years were long over. The tomb was the work of Brother Martin, a monk who learned his craft with Gislebertus. The statues were of the period around 1146 (which is about the time that the column statues of Chartres and St. Denis were created). Three of the statues are still here in the Musee Rolin across the square. A crucifixion of Christ remnant is on the church altar (Our picture is lost). The head of the fourth statue, Peter, is in the Louvre. The statue of Martha is remarkable in that she is covering her nose with a handkerchief to minimize the stench. The other two statues are Andrew and Mary Magdelaine. Today the Relics of St. Lazarus are under the high altar.

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    Examine Gislebertus' Great Cathedral Tympanum

    by hquittner Written Nov 1, 2008

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    The Tympanum & Upper Doorways
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    This tympanum is one of the Last Judgment. It is unlike others of the century in the limberness of the figures and the overlap of the figures between panels suggesting that it was carved in situ and not of preworked blocks that are assembled. There were originally three surrounding arcades . The one that is still totally original i contains a series of medallions depicting the zodiac, labors of the months and the seasons; this is a first use of this concept. A very large Christ in Majesty sits with hands down in a mandorla, supported by four angels. At his feet in the center of the lintel an Angel separates the 38 risen (from 16 coffins) as elect (20) and damned (18, to our right). The figures are not stiff and reflect their attributes so that dismay and suffering or relief is clearly seen. It is here above the damned that the inscription “Gislebertus hoc fecit” is visible above the Angel’s head. In the panels above, on our right, the the scales of Judgment are being worked (with physical competition by both good and evil). On the left the saved ascend by a “narrow gateway” into a three leveled heaven with the Virgin Mary and an Angel at the top and the Apostles below her. It is hard to realize that this is an early 12C creation! Note that the entire door is surrounded by carved columns that are not yet figures. Their capitals will be described in another Tip, easily worth a read. The trumeau of St. Lazarus and his sisters is a 19C creation to replace what was once there.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Enter the Cathedral

    by hquittner Written Oct 30, 2008

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    Nave View Toward Apse
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    The church is very tall and narrow but has wide and tall aisles. This is similar to what will be perfected at Cluny itself. The triforium is blind but has an interesting arcade pattern. The clerestory windows are small and the church is dark. The height is achieved by massive fluted columns. The vaulting was added in the 13C, replacing a wooden roof.

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    See the Outside of the Cathedral of St.-Lazare

    by hquittner Updated Oct 30, 2008

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    South Tower & Porch
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    The building of the church of St. Lazare commenced about 1125 and finished by 1146. It was built to house the relics of the saint and was expected to be an attraction to pilgrim’s starting their journey at Vezelay(which was being rebuilt at the same period). It is a Romanesque Cluniac Benedictine basilica but has been greatly altered over the years. Behind its large protective porch two tall towers were added in the 19C. The nave was vaulted in the 13C and supporting buttresses were added to the North and South walls. At that period it became a cathedral. The crossing tower collapsed and in the 15C Cardinal Rolin (the son of the famous chancellor of Burgundy) had it rebuilt with a tall spire plus a new Gothic choir. (A picture of the choir and spire from the East are shown by Pieter 11 in a Tip and one of the South side by Waalewiener; our pictures of these views are lost ). Under the porch is the Tympanum, a masterpiece of Romanesque Art. Below the tympanum are finely carved doors . The trumeau is of St. Lazarus and his sisters but is a late 19C replacement. The tympanum and lateral capitals will be covered separately.

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