Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Grenoble Archaeological Museum | Doorways

If there’s one image that seems – to me at any rate – to encapsulate the whole of the Grenoble Archaeological Museum, it’s the sight of these two doorways, one inside the other, with just a little of the richly painted decoration peeking through. The earlier arched doorway was built in the late 12th to early 13th century and features painted scenes on the intrados. At the centre, there’s a depiction of the hand of god – the ‘Dexter Dei’ – with St Peter and his key on the left. St Michael appears to the right, though only his name and wing-tip are currently visible behind the remaining stonework. That stonework and later door were inserted in the 15th century. When I first came here in 2000, only a little of St Michael was visible. It is clear that part of the restoration of the site included the decision to reveal more of this amazing paintwork.

Painted intrados as photographed in 2000

One other thing I’d like to point out is the funerary stele, dated to 521 AD, reused in the 12th/13th century wall. It not only testifies to the long history of burials at this site, but to the willingness of construction workers to reuse any handy building material that can find!

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