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Savoy, baroque heart

26 juillet 2016

, , , Minute Art

At the crossroads of every traveler of the seventeenth century, the Savoy States at their zenith experience a bustling artistic activity dictated by the Baroque style.

Excessive and opulent art

Came out in Rome at the beginning of the 1600, and then spread to the entire Europe, baroque art is promoted and supported from its debuts by the Catholic Church. Far from being innocent, this support at the time the Council of Trent (1545-1563), is a strong response to the Protestant Reformation. The general idea is to bring art to the heart of the reconquest of souls. Contrasting with the clear and simple rigor of the Renaissance, the term Baroque is often used for a derogatory purpose, to underline the excess, to mark the eccentric overabundance and the surplus of small details. The religious venues are thus decorated with various and exuberant ornaments, completed with a golden and colorful architecture while sculptures, frescoes and statues praise The Lord and His Saints. Just like the Church, the Aristocracy seizes this movement and sees a way to consolidate its power by impressing ordinary visitors. In the greatest opulence, Baroque Palaces are built and this dramatic style becomes the reference of that era. 

Baroque and Savoie:  summit meeting

(L'église de Lansvillard, crédit photo FACIM)

The Duchy of Savoy, at the crossroads of Europe, between Turin and Geneva where Calvin established the reformed religion, quickly affirms its commitment to the Catholic faith. From the early seventeenth century, churches and medieval chapels are extended and renovated and the Savoy heights are suddenly filed with construction sites. Soon, a typical Savoyard Baroque art starts, both inspired by the geographical conditions of the region and the influence of local artisans. Baroque art from Savoy is dictated by climate, as the very simple architecture of the chapels or churches is capable of facing icy winds, harsh winters and heavy snow. It is in the inside that the magic of baroque art works. The artisans in charge of making these buildings baroque, chosen by the local inhabitants, are formed at different techniques from all over Europe:  Italy, the German Empire, the Kingdom of Spain and create an art of its own. As a real society project, the Savoyard Baroque art embodies the mountain life. Between colors and gold leafs, the saints are praised to fight illness, avalanches and unpredictable weather. Little known until today, it is not until 1992 that the public discovers this particular art.

The paths of Baroque

(Naves édicule RM, Queige statue Vierfe et enfant, Villargerel, crédit photo FACIM)

"It was not until the 1992 Olympic Games that the Baroque art in Savoy, for too long ignored and left out of tourist routes, has a real revival. Taking advantage of the opportunity given to the region, the General Council has decided to redevelop this unknown heritage from Tarentaise to Maurienne, through Beaufortin and Faucigny." In these words, Jean-Paul Gay, man behind the rehabilitation of the Baroque Trail of the Mont-Blanc area, demonstrates the willingness of locals to showcase this often forgotten heritage. Inaugurated in 1992, the Savoy baroque® Paths goes through over 90 locations between churches, chapels, isolated villages and beautiful scenery.

Odile Escolier, suggestion art

Located in Chambery for over 30 years, Odile Escolier is not really into Baroque Art. Her paintings are uncluttered, she works on suggestion rather than forms and only keeps the essentials. Several layers are superimposed and it takes a real work of carving and scraping to reveal the light on the canvas. Between colorful rhythms and silent forms her mysterious works give the artist the opportunity to question the human question, its joys and pains.