Tuesday, 22 October 2013

salve regina

Marian elements and iconography have always played a significant role in religious architecture and are a common appellation, perhaps most famously in Notre Dame de Paris.
A great many places have churches and shires similarly dedicated to Our Lady but I was surprised to find it is not all that uncommon in the Provence to find sites not decorated with spires and steeples but an actual, sometimes colossal figure of Mary (absent from the most noted examples), like these dominating structures in Nyons in the Drรดme, the courtyard of the Papal Palace (the so-called Babylonian Captivity) that transported the seat of popes and anti-popes from Rome to Avignon for a century during the late Middle Ages, or this presiding church on this high natural rocky pillar watching over the Verdon valley in Castellane.
Sometimes these glorious statutes were later additions and certainly not all buildings of worship (even those with the same devotionals) have the personification, so I wonder if there is some impetus, the recollection of a forgotten apparition, a sighting, or a particular miracle behind this statuary.