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date: 14 November 2019

Le Puylocked

  • Walter Cahn

Extract

French city in Haute-Loire. Best known for its Romanesque sculpture, surviving work includes the cathedral of Notre-Dame with its baptistery and cloister, the chapels of St Clair and St Michel d’Aiguilhe, and the church of St Martin, Polignac. The cathedral, an imposing structure with a rectangular choir, projecting transept, and aisled nave of six bays, dominates the city. St Michel d’Aiguilhe, which stands on a volcanic peak near by, has a square core, with apses on three sides, that was enlarged in the Romanesque period with an irregularly shaped ambulatory and short nave. St Clair, located within the precinct of the former hospice of St Nicolas, in the same suburb, is an octagonal chapel with a semicircular eastern apse. The parish church of St Martin, Polignac, situated some 6 km north-west of Le Puy, was originally a dependency of Pébrac Abbey. Four bays of the Romanesque nave remain, terminated by a choir with triple apses. Fragments of sculpture found along the perimeter of the cathedral, which derive from other no longer identifiable structures, are preserved in the Musée Crozatier. The most common material is a local variety of soft-grained sandstone, which resists erosion poorly, with the occasional use of a local basalt. The study of the development of this sculpture is impeded by the virtual absence of secure documentary evidence and the substantial alterations to the appearance and fabric of the buildings made during the extensive 19th-century restorations....

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