"These extraordinary granite sculptures, with their carved figures depicting scenes from the life of Christ, resonate with the Celtic spirit and the Breton’s natural predisposition to melancholy.
Wayside crosses, shrines and calvaries are found right across Europe. But they are especially visible elements of the Brittany landscape, most particularly in the département of Finistère. There are simple granite crosses through this north-west extremity of France. Some stand proud by small country roads and tracks, others are half-hidden by vegetation in stone walls. Some stand on roughhewn altars, often adorned with a plant or small vase of fresh flowers. There are also traditional representations of Christ on the Cross in most churchyards. But in addition, the region boasts a number of monumental calvaries on a much grander scale."
We visited four calvaries. "Relating the story of Jesus’ life in gritty stone figures, they focus mainly on the Easter story, or Christ’s Passion. Occasionally, a local saint puts in a surprise appearance too, or a local sinner, like irreverent Katell Gollet. Most of the calvaries date from the 15th to the 17th centuries, their carvings weathered by the elements."
Here we are in Pleyben, a village in Bretagne, where we saw a monumental calvary, dating from 1555 and standing close to the Saint- Germain Church. If you are versed in the Bible, you might recognise some scenes.
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