Romanesque art of the bourbon area
The Bourbon area has a large number of small Romanesque churches around its two major sanctuaries of Souvigny and Saint-Menoux, representing various artistic influences. However, the tall gables confining the end of the bars dividing the chancel from the apse characterise them.
In the Middle Ages, the Bourbon area was dependent upon three dioceses: Bourges, Autun and Clermont and was located on the route of the major pilgrimages. Thanks to these pilgrimages generating permanent contacts between the regions, the majority of the edifices, preserved today, vouch for the intensive exchanges that brought the different Romanesque regions together long ago. In the Bourbon area you can discover these religious establishments which mushroomed under the influence of Cluny and the backing of the Bourbon family.
There are still many buildings standing today despite there being few monuments that date prior to the XIIth century. In actual fact, the Bourbon area devoted Art to religion up to the XVth century and for a long time conserved the Romanesque construction methods, well adapted to the small, rural buildings.
Saint-Pierre church in Yzeure
This jewel of the Romanesque period is remarkable by the ornamentation of its 12th century façade and its 9th and 10th century crypt. The Burgundy-influenced doorway has ornate monster capitals, old-style motifs and fantastically decorated modillions. In the nave and the aisles, 32 capitals of the 12th century are sculptured with foliage and plants. It houses a polychrome statue of the Virgin with Infant the drapery of which can be dated back to the 14th century and the wooden throne chair carved in 1623.
A lot of Romanesque churches
Nearly all the villages of the Bourbon area have a Romanesque church with one or more architectural characteristics worthy of a visit. Some stand out by their doorway or tympanum (Marigny), others by their bell tower (made of wood in Bagneux, made of stone in Toulon). Other churches can boast grimacing figures (Agonges), capitals (Besson) or a remarkable sculpture (Chemilly, Bresnay), very old stained glass (13th century in Coulandon) or reveal an apse with trefoiled sides, unique in the Bourbon area. Finally, a few churches are worth visiting for the simplicity of their architecture (Chapeau, Gennetines).
VIrtual Reality visits made by the Columbia University (New York) [access]