Verona, Italy

A group of children with flowers in the cloister of San Zeno, Verona, Italy, May 10, 1918, by Fernand Cuville, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

Tradition has it that the crypt of San Zeno is where Romeo married Juliet.

The autochrome above is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 19 474) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

The Sunday porch: Strasbourg, France

St. Pierre le Jeune 5, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure

We spent Thursday through Saturday this week in Strasbourg, and a highlight of this trip for me — aside from two great meals (here and here) — was a visit to the Église protestante Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune or Young* Saint Peter’s Protestant Church.

The church has the oldest surviving cloister “north of the Alps,” according to its website.

Three of the four galleries were constructed in the Romanesque style in the 11th century. The fourth, shown above and in the three photos below, was completed in the 14th century in the Gothic style.

St. Pierre le Jeune 6, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure

The gallery shown above and below was set up for a performance that day.

St. Pierre le Jeune 1, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure

St. Pierre le Jeune 7, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure
Behind the small stage was a modern sculpture. There were modern works throughout the church. (Unfortunately, I didn’t think to photograph their labels.)

St. Pierre le Jeune 8, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure

Above: a Romanesque gallery, also ready for a performance or lecture. I loved the pretty chairs, used throughout the church.

St. Pierre le Jeune 2, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure
A stone mason’s mark?

St. Pierre le Jeune 11, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure
Above and below: the garden in the center.

St. Pierre le Jeune 9, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure

The cloister was heavily damaged and partly buried in the 1700s and then re-built in other ways. After the French revolution, the site was privatized — serving over the years as a wine cellar, a cloth factory, and apartments. It was restored to its original appearance between 2000 and 2008.

St. Pierre le Jeune 12, Strasbourg, Aug2016, by enclos*ure
On the inside, Église Saint-Pierre is remarkable for its array of colors and forms. The church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries in the Romanesque and Gothic styles.

Originally Catholic, of course, in 1524, it became Protestant.  Then in 1682, Louis XIV gave over the choir area behind the rood screen for the exclusive use of the Catholic parish. A dividing wall was built, and it remained there until 1898, when the Catholic congregation moved to its own “Young Saint Peter’s.”  In the meantime, in the 18th century, the choir had been redecorated in the Baroque style, in green and gold. Continue reading “The Sunday porch: Strasbourg, France”