The Calvary at Plougastel-Daoulas

The Calvary in Plougastel-Daoulas was built in 1602-04 to commemorate the end of the bubonic plague epidemic and is all that was left intact (mainly) of the original Enclos Parroissial after bombing in WWII in 1944. This photograph from 1927 shows the original building and it is clear that the wall of the church opposite the Calvary (in the photograph below) is a restoration of the original, with the new church added behind. (More photographs of the original Church of St Peter here.)

16-9-17-plougastel-calvary-lr-0404

The new Church of St Peter, Plougastel-Daoulas
The new Church of St Peter, Plougastel-Daoulas

The Calvary has an octagonal base, and above that a frieze of rather ‘stiff’ figures. Above the frieze are the substantial, free-standing statues, and in the middle of the Calvary, towering above the figures, the three double-sided crosses. There are 180 figures carved on the monument, depicting scenes from the life of Christ. The monument was also damaged in WWII but one of the American soldiers, John D Skilton, a trained art historian, put the broken statues in storage locally and then after the war raised money for the restoration of the Calvary.

The three crosses, Plougastel-Daoulas The three crosses, Plougastel-Daoulas

The east side portrays and birth and death of Christ. While some of the figures and groups are somewhat ‘stiff’ don’t you just love the little nuzzle of the donkey? Tilting its head towards Joseph? The free-standing statues seem to be ‘human’, with different expressions on their faces.

The East Face of the Calvary, Plougastel-Daoulas
The East Face of the Calvary, Plougastel-Daoulas

The Nativity on the Calvary at Plougastel-Daoulas, East Side

The flight into Egypt, Plougastel-Daoulas Calvary, East Side

 

The entombment of Christ, Plougastel-Daoulas, East Side

The north face deals with Christ’s suffering.

The North Face of the Calvary of Plougastel-Daoulas
The North Face of the Calvary of Plougastel-Daoulas

North side of the Calvary, Plougastel Daoulas

The south face portrays the stations of the cross.

The Last Supper, Calvary of Plougastel DaoulasThe washing of the feet, Calvary of Plougastel Daoulas, South Side

The bystanders as Christ carried the cross to Calvary, Plougastel Daoulas

The west face deals with the resurrection.

The West Face of the Calvary at Plougastel-Daoulas
The West Face of the Calvary at Plougastel-Daoulas

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Plougastel Calvary

Hell, Plougastel Calvary

The Resurrection, Plougastel Calvary

This monument is a photographic challenge. There are some wonderful old photographs here, particularly by Eugène Lefèvre-Pontalisan important Mediaeval archaeologist. Sadly photographs by the extraordinary Georges Estève are no longer accessible on the database.

Further information
The Calvary of Plougastel-Daoulas
John D Skilton
The Crosses & Calvaries of Finistere

 

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