It is Vendredi already?
Last week I put up a photo of a statue at the far end of the garden of Versailles and asked what it was, who carved it and why was it there?
This statue was carved by Bernini and was originally of Louis XIV on horseback. Louis the XIV took one look at it and exclaimed “beurk” or something similar and had it placed at the furthest end of the gardens as he hated it so much. Eventually François Girardon the sculptor altered it into an equestrian sculpture of the ancient Roman hero Marcus Curtius. So look out for it next time you are strolling about Versailles. It is at the far end of the Pièce d’eau des Suisses (the Swiss Pond), a forgotten masterpiece.
This week’s picture is of something that is quite unfamiliar to us in Australia but much more recognisable in Europe.
Everywhere we went we saw little (and large) “bits” of saints in various fabulous containers. These astonishing reliquaries contained bones or blood or other dried up remnants of the holy and it was astonishing to still see so many about given that large numbers of relics got consigned to the gutter (or worse in the case of poor St Genevieve) during the French Revolution.
This particular relic of St Celestine is horribly compelling and can be found in St Malo Cathedral. At first I thought is was one of the “Incorruptibles”, those amazing saints whose bodies refuse to decay, but on further inspection I discovered it to be a skeleton covered in wax. I can’t quite work out what the modeller was intending to imply by the facial expression. Peace? Agony? Ennui?
As this is such an unfamiliar thing to me I am afraid I did not feel moved with adoration but rather the need to run out screaming. I have tried to discover more about this Saint’s life, but as there were a few St Celestines, I can’t track him down. Any information greatly appreciated.
Have you seen any relics that made an impression on you while in France?
Bon weekend mes amis!