Paradoxplace South West France Photo and History Pages

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L'Église St-Nicholas, Civray


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St Nicholas, Civray



The facade of L'Église St-Nicholas in Civray - you would think there might be one or two little gems hidden here, and sure enough there are the weathered remains of a Zodiac cycle around the main door .......






What could be described as a "dickie leg" between a couple of very unusual almost Indian temple faces.  The large churches around here




The frustration with photographing Romanesque detail is that you later notice all sorts of images that would have looked really good in close-up - like the capitals on the right and the face at the base of the spandrel above them.  Next time!  The mandorlared Christ and the winged tetramorph figures of Lion (Mark), Angel (Matthew), Eagle (John) and Bull (Luke) look not quite medieval.








From bottom left - Aquarius carelessly tosses a larger than usual column of water beside a seated dignitary pretending not to notice, February man warms his feet, Pisces hide under a ledge and spring man prunes his vines - meantime a pert Romanesque angel wafts past on water carrying things!



St Nicholas, Civray - Zodiacs and Monthly Activities



Details - The fish of Pisces are hiding under a river stone, and underneath this looks like a February person who has taken off his boots to warm his feet at the fire.



St Nicholas, Civray - Zodiacs and Monthly Activities



Top centre (from the left) - the fading but still affectionate  Gemini Twins, vine tending, Cancer the Crab, Summer Solstice (June 21), Leo the Lion, maybe scything or threshing, and Virgo.





The two ladies of the Zodiac - Virgo the virgin and Libra le balance (sans scale arm).  In the middle is probably the remnants of a wheat threshing scene - that's probably the head of the flail top left.





Grape treader with manly bulge and his leg oddly placed in the back of his barrel carrying assistant, plus Scorpio.





Here's a good test of primitive imagery - the clues are top left and bottom right - the raised weapon carrying arm and the piggy tail, about to become a dead piggy tail.  This scene occurs between Scorpio and Sagittarius - in most other places they let the pigs get on with acorn eating till nearer Christmas!





Finally Sagittarius the centaur archer and life of the party, a scene involving cows at a trough which we have not encountered before, Capricorn the sea (billy) goat and a December feaster + that head.



St Nicholas, Civray



There is an interesting nautical ensemble to the left of the main door.  Men in boats on the capitals, with some guy walking on the waves on the right. 



St Nicholas, Civray, Portal Column Reliefs



On the column underneath Pisces the Fishes make a return, a strutting crow joins in (meaning unknown to the Dom but he'd like to know as he has met up with quite a few!), the double headed eagle which, known only to a handful of people (including the Dom), was the seal of Eleanor of Aquitaine (also more widely known and less interestingly of assorted Holy Roman Emperors like Frederick II, and a King of Navarre and the Conti family of Anagni and no doubt numerous others), and maybe Taurus the Bull or maybe Aries the Ram or maybe a hunted deer or a hunting dog .......



St Nicholas, Civray, Nave



A sneaky beak inside the painted (decorator) wonderland that is a feature of several of the large Poitou / Aquitaine churches - just a question of what you are used to ....... !



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