Saturday, November 12, 2016

"Mont St-Michel Dreams" (oil on stretched canvas; 18" x 24")

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The Mont St-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. Scamper, at low tide, across the treacherous mudflats in the Bay of Mont St-Michel in northwestern France. Head for a dramatic abbey reaching to heaven from a rock surrounded by a vast and muddy solitude.

The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colorful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.

The dukes of Normandy, followed by French kings, supported the development of a major Benedictine abbey on the Mont St-Michel. Magnificent monastic buildings were added through medieval times. The abbey became a renowned centre of learning. Vast numbers of pilgrims visited, despite warring cross-Channel royals.

The sight of the distant silhouette of the Gothic island-abbey Mont St-Michel send tired sightseers spirits soaring today just as it did the spirits of weary pilgrims in centuries past.

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