church of St. Vigor
The church of Cheux (Normandy, France) is a wonderful example of Romanesque.
The church is dedicated to Saint Vigor, Bishop of Bayeux, who died in
The prelate - according to tradition - armed with a cross would have tamed a dragon operating in his diocese so that the Beast would then follow him on the leash of his stool. To the holy bishop then, thanks for gratitude, would have been given a land on which he would have built a church which then became Cerisy-la-Forêt Abbey.
St. Vigor therefore represents a deeply local cult, prior to the Norman conquest, just adopted by the Normans who, however, were already deeply integrated and indistinguishable by the native population at the end of the 11th century.
The church of Cheux probably dates back to the end of the twelfth century: one hundred years younger than the Saint Georges de Boscherville Abbey and the capitals within the church witness a more 'mature' Romanesque style than that one.
The faces of the people (and the muzzle of animals) have fewer teeth in evidence, sirens bicaudate and oranti are far more 'round' and similar to those that can be seen in Italy or Spain: the Viking element seems to stemperate in the most classic Romanesque style.
The capitals within the church (which are not always easy to read) are much more recognizable and can be traced back to the recurring themes of Romanesque decoration.
In addition to the classic and well-known two-tails mermaids, the capitals speak to us of Daniele in the lion's hole, San Vigor showing the cross tamess the dragon, fighting scenes, Adam and Eve, prayers, battles, miraculous fishings ....
But there are also Greek-Latin elements such as the fish ride, the basilisk ride, an unusual crucifixion with around cherubims.
But it is on the corbels outside the church that the Franco-Norman-Romanesque heart offers the best of itself.
At first glance the décor of the dome of the church of San Vigor seems normal decorations: at over twenty meters high our eyes only distinguish dots decorated.
But if you use a telephoto lens and watching them closely you discover how much you have indulged tagliapietra: will appear bicaudate sirens, sweet scenes of mother and child, lovers kissing...
But also scenes of penis-like men in the hands and female femininity of fertility that proudly open the vulva: someone wants to be Sheela Na Gig, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility, relatively common in Ireland and England
There was, in short, an imaginary osmosis favored by the Norman Anglican conquest (Sheela Na Gig comes from Green Ireland).
The stories go in both directions from the greek-Latin world in the Celtic and our medieval stonemason not throw anything: the need for imagination is strong enough to meld elements of very different cultures, material to tell in the long evenings of winter without television.