The Saint-Pierre d'Assier church, an exceptional monument to the glory of Galiot de Genouillac

The church of Saint-Pierre d'Assier, a unique building in France, is the only Renaissance church in the Lot department.

Built during the Renaissance, from 1540 to 1549, by Galiot de Genouillac, grand master of the artillery of François I and winner of the battle of Marignan (1515), the edifice is famous for its sculpted frieze, 100 meters long, telling the story of his military exploits, and for the interior chapel which houses his monumental tomb with his recumbent, placed under a vault cut in the shape of a star.

 

The exterior frieze

A frieze in low relief surrounds the monument. Its profane and warlike decoration can be surprising for such a building. The various motifs depicted evoke scenes from the Italian wars, such as the famous crossing of the Alps before the victory at the battle of Marignan (1515), won by Galiot, master of the artillery of François I.

The sculpted elements represent the triumph of artillery with the most widespread cannon, the "coulevrine" bastard, besieged palaces, three-flame cannonballs, and very precise ancillary pieces that make this frieze a true archival document on the art of warfare at that time and without equal.

Swords with a fleurdelisé harness remind us of the office of the Grand Squire and stand next to the collar of the Order of St. Michael which was the highest distinction of the time.

And then, repeated over and over again, there is the famous motto "I love Fortune" or "I love fortune" with a double meaning, celestial and sentimental.

 

 

The funeral chapel

Located to the north of the first bay of the nave, it houses the tomb of Galiot de Genouillac, represented first as a marble recumbent in court costume and then clad in his armor, leaning on a cannon surrounded by cannonballs and bags of gunpowder.

The vault of the chapel, remarkable and unique in France, has only one other architectural equivalent in Europe, located in the monastery of San Domingo in Valencia, Spain.

Both vault and dome with triple ridges, glasses and troops, it gives the impression of a star with a complicated design or a huge spider's web of which it is thought that the final cutting of some stones was done after the installation.

The church has been classified as a historical monument since 1840.

 

It is recommended to visit first the castle where detailed explainations are given about Galiot de Genouillac and the church from the castings of the frieze.

 

 

Eglise Saint-Pierre d’Assier

12 D653,

46320 Assier

 

 

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

(free version)

 

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