15 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 23)

The Polish aristocrat who acquired the château at Montrésor in the mid-19th century possessed, according to the French Wikipedia article about him, une immense fortune. He collected a lot of fine artwork to decorate the château and its gardens.

One of the most striking pieces is an enormous marble sculpture of "The Fallen Archangel" by an Italian artist named Constantino Corti.

In French, I've seen this work called « L'Archange déchu » but also simply « L'Ange déchu ». The fallen archangel is Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan), no? The sculpture was installed at Montrésor in the late 1860s, just a few years before the death of Corti (1823-1873).

The Polish owner of the château was Xavier Branicki. He was a hunter, philanthropist, art collector, financier... and the major of Montrésor from 1860 to 1870.

14 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 22)

Details and the big view... Going back through all these photos, I've come to appreciate the beauty of Montrésor more than I ever did before. Actually, four of these photos could have been taken anywhere in Touraine, the Blois area, or the neighboring Berry province. Montrésor has a lot of pretty places to compete with — including Saint-Aignan and Montrichard.

April 2006

April 2006          

Sept. 2012          

May 2006

May 2006

Except for the picture of the cat, I took all these photos in Montrésor on pretty spring days in 2006. The cat encounter on a village street took place in 2012, and the animal's green eyes and green collar on the gray background of its fur mimics the splashes of color — shutters, windows, doors, plants, flowers — on gray backgrounds you frequently see in French villages and towns.

13 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 21)

Five more Montrésor church photos... This makes three weeks I've been posting photos I've taken in one village over the past dozen years. I have a few more in my archives, and I might just continue posting Montrésor photos as we move into the holiday season.

Most of us, when we go touring around, just wander and look for striking, colorful, interesting, and unusual things to look at and point the camera at. That's what I do. And I hope you enjoy the photos.

It's the atmosphere of a village, château, or church that we are interested in. It's not so much the historical or architectural details that matter.

In other words, a blog like this one is not an encyclopedia. It's more like a magazine.

Writing encyclopedia articles is a lot of work. As a retired person and senior citizen, I don't go out looking for work. I have plenty of that to do in the kitchen, yard, and garden.

12 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 20)

Heads or tails no heads... but hands. Inside the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Montrésor, you can see the tombs of the family that had the church built nearly 500 years ago. The family name was Batarnay (sometimes spelled Bastarnay) and Imbert de Bastarnay was an advisor to and confidant of several French kings back then.

"Recumbent" statues of the deceased (father, mother, and son) adorn the tombs. These kind of statues are called gisants in French, from the "defective" verb gésir meaning "to lie (down)" or "to be lying (down)" — not to be confused with telling lies. Other forms of this irregular verb appear as ci-gît [name] meaning "here lies [name of deceased person]"... and also gîte meaning vacation or holiday rental house. A gîte is a hare's nest, where the animal lies down to sleep. Gîte means "shelter" in this context.

The author of the Cadogan guide to the Loire Valley says that the gisants at Montrésor are "fine effigies" that make the Batarnays "look rather like a family tucked up in bed with their heads deep in their stone pillows." Imbert de Batarnay reportedly lived to the ripe old age of 85.

The hands are striking. Why are people who look like they are dead or sleeping holding their hands up in such a prayerful pose?

The Batarnays are luckier than the saints whose statues adorn the façade of the Montrésor church. Those statues are headless thanks to the pillaging and plundering of churches that went on at the time of the French Revolution.

11 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 19)

Montrésor en hiver. A wintertime shot through the bare branches of a tree.

February 2005

We're having strong winds and some rain this morning. Tree branches are down in the yeard. We had very hard rain for a couple of hours yesterday morning. Winter is asserting itself. This is typical weather for the season. The good news is that it's a warm storm. (Positive) 9ºC this morning (nearly 50ºF).