Cathédrale Saint-Cyr et Sainte Juliette, East Apse and NaveCathedral of Saint Cyricus and Saint Julitta, East Apse and Nave
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
Nevers is situated east of Bourges in rural Burgundy on the banks of the Loire River. Its cathedral, dedicated to martyr saints Julitta and her young son Cyricus (Julitte and Cyr), is unusual in that it has two apses: a Romanesque apse facing west and a Gothic apse facing east joined by a Gothic nave. This arresting juxtaposition of styles is only one of the features that testifies to the church's vitality throughout history. The 11th C. Romanesque cathedral (dedicated in 1058) was built on the foundations of a Carolingian church and retained its orientation toward the west. After fires damaged the church in 1211 and 1308 the nave and choir were rebuilt in the contemporary Gothic style, which included re-orienting the church toward the east. Nevertheless, the western apse with its late 12th C. fresco of Christ in Glory, was retained. (The fresco was later whitewashed and only re-discovered in 1879-although in poor condition. It was restored in 1990.)The cathedral was classified as an historical monument in 1862.In July 1944, Nevers suffered bombardment. The church was damaged and all of the 19th C. stained glass windows in the nave and both apses were blown out. Out of that destruction, the Cathédrale Saint-Cyr et Sainte-Julitte stretched its history both backward and forward. In the course of repairing the war damage, a 6th C. Baptistery was uncovered. It had been constructed as a free-standing building with a hexagonal pool for baptism of adults at its center, surrounded by eight marble pillars that delimited an ambulatory and supported a mosaic-covered dome. As early as the 1960s state agents concerned with historical monuments, representatives of the church and artists began to collaborate on efforts to replace the cathedral's windows. These efforts finally began to bear fruit in the 1980s. By the summer of 1981, when Father Paul Cioffi captured this image, the first of Raoul Ubac's windows had been installed: an abstract composition of undulating golden yellows in the center of the Romanesque apse. Ubac (Belgian, 1910-1985), working with master glazier Charles Marq (French b. 1923) and l'Atelier Simon Marq, added a blue-green window on either side of the central golden one, and a rose-colored design in the oculus in the apse arch above the fresco. Since the 1990s, artists François Rouan (French b. 1943), Gottfried Honegger (Swiss b. 1917), Claude Viallat (French b. 1936) and Jean-Michel Alberola (French b. 1953), in collaboration with various glass studios, have installed 1052 square meters of new stained glass creations. Work was completed ca. 2005. ca. August 1981
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