Calvaire

This stone Calvaire is on the Chemin de St. Jacques near Espalion. To judge from the weathering and the clothes on the sculpted worshipers, it appears to be from the early 19th century.

The artist has managed to collapse into a single composition four key points in the Christian story. The most evident one is the crucifixion, of course, with Mary and John positioned at the foot of the cross. But in this case they are stand with three other saints ranged around a tomb that strongly resembles an altar (see detail), thus referrring to both the Resurrection (from the tomb, which will empty in three days) and the Mass (which in Catholic doctrine is a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ).

Finally, the very top of the sculpture represents the Ascension by showing the feet and hem of Christ (see detail and compare Suess von Kalmbach's similar use of feet and hem in a 15th century Ascension) between two angels.

The pathos of the crucifixion is thus wedded to joyful contemplation of the triumph over death and time that Christ achieved on the Cross.

Note also the man and woman carved below the main scene, modeling the prayerful attitude recommended to passers-by. The woman is holding an offering of some sort (see detail)

On the reverse side of this complex image is an unusual Pietà.

More of Crosses and Crucifixes

Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.