|The nave of Notre Dame, Avenas is built from undressed stone with a|
timbered roof structure. Beyond the Eastern archway is the crossing
of the transepts and beyond this the apse.
This noble church is famed for its extraordinary limestone altar (certainly of the twelfth century), depicting Christ enthroned in majesty amid the Apostles and Evangelists. This marvellous and dynamic carving forms the frontal-piece of the altar.
|The freestanding altar of carved limestone.|
The admirable carving, quintessentially Romanesque and very religious in feeling,
has survived in this small church for 900 years.
The following is adapted from Vergnolle "Maiestas Domini Portals of the Twelfth Century" in Romanesque art and thought in the twelfth century.
The theme of the Maiestas Domini, Christ seated on a throne surrounded by the four symbols of the evangelists (the lion S' Mark, the eagle S' John, the ox S' Luke and the angel S' Matthew) refers to the Final Day of Judgement and the omnipresence and power of God. The theme became popular all over Europe by the heyday of Romanesque art by the end of the eleventh century/ beginning of the twelfth century. The mandorla (or vesica) of the Romanesque period, the oval frame covering the theme, replaced the circular halo of light or almond from previous times. On many Romanesque altar frontal-pieces, the Maiestas Domini occupies the centre of the composition, framed by the apostles, and has a direct relationship with the liturgy. It was to the Divine enthroned Majesty that the Church presented the Eucharistic sacrifice and its hopes for mankind. One of the most precious examples is the altar of Notre-Dame in Avenas.
|Looking up into the dome surmounting the crossing.|
The photographs illustrating this post have been taken from this source.
Click on the images for an enlarged view.