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L'Eglise St-Lazare, Avallon

 

MAP OF BURGUNDY

 

Links to Autun Cathédral St-Lazare and Vézelay Basilique Ste-Madeleine

 

Links to all Paradoxplace pages about medieval illustrations of Labours of the Month, Zodiac Signs,

Cardinal Virtues and Sins in Western European churches.

 

Back to Paradoxplace Burgundy & Champagne Pages

 

 

 

 

The church of St-Lazare in Avallon (Burgundy), at one stage a Clunaic Priory,  enjoyed the thrills and spills of Avallon's medieval journey as invasions by Saracens, English et al and the ramifications of the political fortunes of Burgundy swept backwards and forwards over the countryside, and it added a pièce de résistance of its own through the acquisition of the major pilgrim draw card of (part of) the skull of Lazarus*. 

 

Despite a lot of bits missing, knocked down, blocked off etc, the church still has a very attractive feel about it. 

 

The surviving two doorways from the 1100s build have one remaining tympanum, one lintel and one portal statue between them.

 

Plus, the main reason for our visit,  the weathered remnants of sculptured Zodiac signs and monthly labour scenes.  The Zodiac sculptures are more attractively detailed than their simpler and more renovated cousins in Autun and Vezelay, especially considering their exposed location and the amount of rebuilding turmoil that has gone on around them over the centuries.

 

10 out of 12 of the Zodiac signs are now positioned in the top part of the third archivolt.  Monthly activities and at least one repeat zodiac are to be found to either side, though they are mostly not easily recognizable because of weathering.

 

The church is at the far end of the pedestrian main street to the main access road, where parking is plentiful but always full !  There must be a back way into town, and if you can find it it is much easier to find a park on the church side of the river.

 

 

 

*Presumably Lazarus of Bethany, who was the one Jesus raised from the dead.  This Lazarus had a sister Mary (Magdalene?) whose relics were the centrepiece of the astounding medieval marketing success of nearby Vézelay.  The other biblical Lazarus was the spotty beggar left to starve at the door of the rich man Dives - dramatically illustrated in a bas relief  in the portal of Moissac Abbey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above - Collecting faggots (December ?) and below - Mid-Winter (Winter Solstice December 22) (we think ....  there is a similarly seated figure without gear on  in the summer solstice position in Autun and some other places).

 

 

 

 

 

Capricorn (the Sea Goat, December 22 - January 20)  -  Sagittarius (the (bowless) Archer, November 23 - December 21)

Scorpio (the (fat medieval) Scorpion, October 24 - November 22)

 

 

 

 

Libra (the (now missing) Scales -September 23 - October 23) - Virgo (the Virgin, August 24 - September 22) -

Leo (the Lion, July 23 - August 23)

 

 

 

 

Virgo (the Virgin, August 24 - September 22)  -  Leo (the Lion, July 23 - August 23)  - 

Cancer (the Crab, June 22 - July 22)

 

 

 

 

Cancer (the Crab, June 22 - July 22)  -  Gemini (the (frisky) Twins, May 22 - June 21)

Taurus (the Bull, April 21 - May 21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taurus (the Bull, April 21 - May 21), Aries (the Ram, March 21 - April 20)

Pisces (the Fish(es)) February 19 - March 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archivolt base left - foot warming (in February ?).

 

 

Archivolt base right - top: Aquarius (the Water Carrier, January 21 - February 18),

tips his amphora onto - bottom: the Wind (or a big chunder)

 

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