In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The Great Calvaries of Brittany and the Medieval Breton Burzud braz Jezuz Stanley Damberger and Ellin M. KellyBreton Calvaries (see fig. 3) are not simply roadside crucifixes ;! these granite sculptures include images of saints who witnessed the life, Passion, and death of Jesus—and also often saints especially venerated in Brittany or in a particular parish. But the great Calvaries additionally include statuary groupings, bas-reliefs, or frieze carvings which depict scenes from the life of Jesus, especially from the Passion. While similar scenes are depicted in these Calvaries, each sculptor worked inventively to shape his figures and to introduce unique details, expanding the narrative and iconographie formulae of each scene. Devotion to the Passion in Brittany was, to be sure, a particularly important aspect of popular religion in that region. According to tradition, the most popular Breton saint, Yves de Tréguier (1263-1303), preached on one Good Friday about the Passion in seven different churches, and many of the faithful followed him from place to place.2 The Breton play Burzud braz Jezuz, which has two parts— the Passion and the Resurrection—was first edited by Ives Quillévéré and published in 1530. The Passion segment collects details from all four Evangelists as well as from the apocrypha. Quillévéré's edition is the basis for Le Grand Mystère de Jésus (1865), which includes the Breton text, placed at the bottom of each page, as well as the French translation by the Viscount Hersart de la Villemarqué. However, since the only extant copy of the 1530 edition had missing pages, La Villemarqué employed a version edited by Georges Allienne in 1622 for the purpose of reconstructing the complete Breton text for his translation. La Villemarqué's practice was to mark off individual scenes on the basis of speeches by narrators or witnesses who summarize action which is to follow and provide natural breaks 52 Stanley Damberger and Ellin M. Kelly53 in the dramatic action. Sixteen scenes are thus marked for La Passion and six for La Resurrection.,3 In his introductory discussion of the Breton theater, La Villemarqué, arguing that Burzud braz Jezuz originated and was disseminated from the cathedral city of Saint-Pol-de-Léon, cites in support of this location the play's versification, dialect, and date as well as the association of the cathedral with performances of the Passion. He further suggests that the play's author was either a cleric assigned to the cathedral or a religious of Mount Carmel in the city. Since the archives of the cathedral were destroyed during the French Revolution, no further documentation for die manuscript's provenance is available.4 At the end of his introduction, however, La Villemarqué quotes the following lines from Quillévéré's edition: Va, mon livre, en chaque paroisse, Va toucher le coeur des Bretons; Que la foi s'affermisse et croisse, Comme le chêne, en nos cantons.5 (Go, my book, into each parish,/ Go, touch the heart of Bretons;/ So that the faith grows stronger and increases,/ Like the oak, in our districts.) The five great Calvaries we have selected provide in our view visual proof of the influence of dramatic presentations of the Passion such as Burzud braz Jezuz on the parishes in northern Brittany. All were erected after 1530, the date of Quillévéré's edition. The octagonal Calvary at Plougonven, constructed in 1554, was restored in 1897 by the sculptor Yann Larc'hantec.6 The Calvary at Pleyben, begun in 1555 but restored and modified in 1650 by the sculptor Yves Ozanne, was moved to its present location in 1738.7 The parish of Guimiliau erected its Calvary in 1581.8 The Calvary at Plougastel -Daoulas had its origin as a thanksgiving monument for the end of the plague of 1598; damaged by the Allied Forces' shelling of Brest in 1 944, it was repaired after the war tiirough the fund-raising efforts of an American officer, John Davis Skilton.9 These have upper and lower registers for dieir sculptural programs. The great Calvary at Saint Thégonnec, erected in 1610, has only an upper level of sculpture and begins...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 52-65
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.