It was André Malraux who described the abbey church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe as the "Sistine of the Romanesque period".
This abbey church, a jewel of Romanesque art in Poitou-Charentes, is, in fact, highlighted by its murals commissioned by the Benedictine monks.
In the 19th century, on the initiative of Prosper Mérimée, then Inspector General of Historic Monuments, the paintings, dating from the late 11th-early 12th century, were saved. Numerous restoration campaigns to save the paintings were then undertaken, the church, classified in 1840 on the first list of historic monuments, still continues to be the subject of all the attention of restorers.
The abbey church and its paintings World Heritage site
The church was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983 under two evaluation criteria. Firstly, it is considered a masterpiece of man's creative genius. Secondly, it is an outstanding testimony to a vanished civilization, another criterion.
The abbey-church offers guided tours, a scenographic tour, educational interventions aimed at raising awareness among the various publics...
The scenographic route
It is organized around the theme of the Romanesque paintings of the abbey church on the three floors of the monastic buildings. This innovative cultural facility, combining cinema and multimedia, is an essential complement to the guided tour of the church.
The refectory and gardens
Intended for the monks' daily meals taken in silence, the refectory now houses the scene of the "Fight of the Kings" which used to take place on the vault of the abbey church. Illuminated by huge bays, this vast hall also hosts many temporary exhibitions.
In contrast to the pomp and vanity of the seigneurial gardens, the present garden of the abbey perfectly illustrates the simplicity and modesty of the Maurist gardens. Large lawn tiles separated by simple alleys lined with palm, pear and other fruit bushes, boxwood, laurel trees...
The multimedia trail
On the first floor, the former monks' cells have been converted into interpretation areas that approach the murals of Saint-Savin from historical, religious and artistic angles using media such as models, touch-sensitive terminal with virtual tour, videos, soundtracks, etc.
The projection room
Every half hour, the auditorium on the top floor, transformed into a projection room, offers the viewing of "A fresco", a fictional film about the creation of the paintings of the Abbey of Saint-Savin. This film lasts 25 minutes.
Phone : 05 49 84 30 00
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