(Cath√©drale Saint-Lazare d'Autun) is a Roman Catholic cathedral, and a national
monument of France, in Autun.
its Cluniac inspiration
and its Romanesque sculptures
by Gislebertus, it is the seat of the
Bishop of Autun.
St. Nazarius' Cathedral
The first cathedral of Autun was built from the 5th century onwards
(later dedicated to Saint
or St. Nazaire
, as it held relics of
Saints Nazarius and Celsus
was several times refurbished and enlarged. In about 970 it
obtained from Marseille some of the relics of Lazarus.
These gradually became an object of
pilgrimage and the crowds became too great for the cathedral
building. The Bishop of Autun, Etienne de B√Ęg√©, therefore decided
in about 1120 on the construction of a new cathedral as a
pilgrimage church and for the better veneration of the relics. The
new cathedral was allotted a site to the north of the earlier
cathedral of Saint Nazaire, of which some remains may still be
St. Lazarus' Cathedral
Work on the new cathedral of Saint Lazarus
or St. Lazare
began in around 1120 and advanced
rapidly enough for the building to be consecrated in 1130. It was
mostly finished by 1146, when the relics of Lazarus were translated
from the old cathedral. The Tomb of Lazarus
shrine of the relics, was constructed in the choir in 1170-1180.
or portico was not completed
until the very end of the century.
inspiration of the new building, both in layout and decoration, was
Cluniac. The designs were the work of the bishop
Etienne de B√Ęg√©, who was particularly influenced by the Cluniac
abbey of Paray-le-Monial.
For a number of years after 1146 the two cathedrals operated in
tandem, with Saint Lazare as the summer cathedral (from Easter to
All Saints' Day) and Saint Nazaire as the winter cathedral. Saint
Lazare was eventually confirmed as the one cathedral of Autun in
In the 15th century the Romanesque
appearance of the
exterior was extensively modified by the addition of spires and
side chapels. In 1462 Bishop Jean
had a new belfry built in replacement of the Romanesque
one, destroyed by a bolt of lightning.
until 1805 it was home to the famous painting Madonna of Chancellor Rolin
by Jan van Eyck, now in the Mus√©e du
The twin flanking towers date from the 19th century.
Notable is the west tympanum
(1130-1135), signed Gislebertus hoc fecit
made this") and ranked amongst the masterpieces of Romanesque sculpture
Portraying the Last
, it was plastered over in 1766, Christ's head
being entirely obliterated. Gislebertus also sculpted a figure of
(north portal), the first large
scale nude in European art since antiquity and a model of sinuous
The interior has a nave and two aisles, divided by massive pillars
with longitudinal carvings. The nave elevation is composed of three
levels: grand arcade, triforium and clerestory, each marked by a
cornice. The nave is covered by a barrel vault over transverse
arches. Most of the capitals were carved by Gislebertus: some of
them are exhibited in the Chapter Hall, including fine
representations of the Flight into
of the Magi.
Other artworks include the Martyrdom of St. Symphorianus
, in the
- destroyed in 1766