Saturday, 14 June 2014

History and statistics

As mentioned earlier, this blog has strong links with "Le Site sur l'Art Romane en Bourgogne".

It all started with Chazelle
Even though I was already interested in Romanesque architecture, also possessing a not insignificant number of photographs of Romanesque churches in many villages in the department Sâone-et-Loire, my picture collection started to be taken more seriously when I started to study the above mentioned site a bit more in detail. The first serious step was creating an interactive map with "all" Romanesque churches in the area. The next step was a logical one: create similar maps for the remaining three Burgundian departments. But, since Sâone-et-Loire is my homebase, and not exactly unknown territory, I concentrated heavily on this area.

Cluny followed quickly
My first contact with the webmaster of the above mentioned site, Eduard van Boxtel, goes back to approx. August 2012, after which date I started to transfer bulky batches of photographs to the Netherlands.
May 2013 my interactive map for 71 was ready, and then it became challenging to visit those places of which neither van Boxtel nor I possessed any photographs. Of course there were plenty of places I had never even heard of, but when you start near home it does not take long to scrap places off the list as "being done".
At the moment my cooperation with van Boxtel has been going for almost 2 years, and I managed to complete his list of 4-star churches as wel as that of 3-star churches with my photographs; hence it is time to make up the balance.

Interactive map 71
Sâone-et-Loire boasts in total roughly 456 small and bigger Romanesque churches or buildings, of which it is partly (33%) unknown whether there are Romanesque remains at all. Of these 456 churches I have visited, before and after 2012, 391 churches, which is 86%. Of those 391 churches van Boxtel has chosen 231 buildings of which he has used one or more of my pictures for his site "Bourgogne Romane". That makes up for 51% of the total number, and 59% of the churches I took pictures of. These figure are a bit obscure, since van Boxtel does not prepare separate picture pages for every and each church he considers to be a 1-star or 2-star church. It means however, that if I wanted or could complete van Boxtel's collection, there are about 65 churches still to be visited.

Former church / habitat - Confrançon
There is a snag in this figure of 65. Of a small number of churches it is only known that they are located in a certain village or hamlet. In some cases the remains of these churches are hidden inside a habitat, or even completely revamped into a residential house. Some good examples (and there are more!) are the unfindable chapel in Laives, or the church in the hamlet of Vincelles near Nanton. Neither of them could be found, at least not without assistance of a local historian, and even a local person we addressed in the street had never heard of remains of churches or chapels around there.

Former church / habitat - Ciergues
The bottom line is, that there are still approx. 50 churches on my list. Amongst those there is one 3-star church, one 1-star church and there are three 2-star churches. Those are churches of which van Boxtel (still) has more information than I have. The rest of the churches to be visited fall under the category "still to be studied, before an assessment can be made". And then there are still some churches which could be interesting inside, but which were closed during a previous visit. For those it is a matter of returning one day the town hall is open (sometimes only 4 hours a week!) to ask for the key.

Chapelle Saint-Pierre? - Jalogny
Slowly the net around the churches of 71 is closing in around the "unknown" churches of 71. And one day I hope another email will arrive, similar to the one quoted below:
"Hi, Cees,
A festive instant: all 3-star churches of S&L have a page on my site! Of this I am very proud, and I would like to thank you again, because thanks to your enormous contribution this has been realised a lot quicker than I had anticipated."
And that is a nice boost, is it not?

Chapelle and source Saint-Nizier? - Jalogny
A good base of operations for search for Romanesque churches in 71 is :La Tuilerie de Chazelle.