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Fodor's France 2014
Cathédrale St-Lazare Review
Autun's principal monument is the Cathédrale St-Lazare, a Gothic cathedral in Classical clothing. It was built between 1120 and 1146 to house the relics of St. Lazarus; the main tower, spire, and upper reaches of the chancel were added in the late 15th century. Lazarus's tricolor tomb was dismantled in 1766 by canons: vestiges of exquisite workmanship can be seen in the neighboring Musée Rolin. The same canons also did their best to transform the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral into a Classical temple, adding pilasters and other ornaments willy-nilly. Fortunately, the lacy Flamboyant Gothic organ tribune and some of the best Romanesque stonework, including the inspired nave capitals and the tympanum above the main door, emerged unscathed. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's painting The Martyrdom of St. Symphorien has been relegated to the dingy north aisle of the nave, partly masked by the organ. The Last Judgment carved in stone above the main door was plastered over in the 18th century, which preserved not only the stylized Christ and elongated apostles but also the inscription "Gislebertus hoc fecit" (Gislebertus did this). Christ's head, which had disappeared, was found by a local canon shortly after World War II. Make sure to visit the cathedral's Salle Capitulaire, which houses Gislebertus's original capitals, distinguished by their relief carvings. The cathedral provides a stunning setting for Musique en Morvan, a festival of choral music in late July.
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