I went on a residential course a few weeks ago and one of my fellow inmates recommended Fontevraud as a place to visit. Once again the vicar is on holiday visiting ABC (another bloody church). Ruth likes to listen to the audio guide whilst I just take in the ambience. When you work in churches it can be a bit too much of a busman’s holiday to think about buttresses and gargoyles in your spare time.
I love how some ancient art incorporates the hierarchy of the institution into the scene. That said, I hate it when the local landed gentry paid to have their face painted onto the infant Christ. My favourite icon is in the Louvre as Christ puts his arm around St Menas. I digress.
In the chapter room at the Abbey there are large pictures depicting aspects of the life of Christ. In many, a kneeling Benedictine Abbess is present looking on. In the crucifixion scene, Christ is between two likely looking lads and everyone has a six pack.
Once again, Mother Superior watches on as Christ’s body is prepared for the tomb.
And when Jesus is betrayed with a kiss it isn’t much of a peck on the cheek.