This famous building is the owner of a rich history, which means there are plenty of facts to uncover. Read on to find out what facts we know about the Palais des Papes.
What is the Palais des Papes, in Avignon?
Palis des Papes, Palace of the Popes, is a famous historical palace that found its home in Avignon.
Interestingly, the palace is actually two buildings joined together, and the old Palais of Benedict XII along with the new Palais of Clement VI is what creates the majestic Palais des Papes.
Palais des Papes is the Biggest Gothic Palace in Europe
The Palace of the Popes is a symbol of the churches prominent influence throughout Western Christian culture in the 14th century, which means the building itself has been around for an outstanding amount of time.
Amazingly, it is, in fact, the biggest Gothic palace in the whole of Europe, which makes it extra special.
Palais des Papes was Built in the 13th Century
The construction of the Palis des Papes first began in 1335 and only took 20 years to complete while guided by both popes. The palace now is actually fortified with a remarkable ten towers, which only added to its influencing energy.
You Can Take a Tour Around Palais des Papes
Visiting the Palais des Papes offers such an interesting experience as you are treated to a vast tour. Over 20 different rooms are there to explore, notably the Pope’s private chambers, and fascinating scenes of historical events. Not to forget the exquisite fresco paintings by the renowned Italian artist Matteo Giovanetti.
Throughout the year, a variety of cultural activities are available to partake in, which really makes each tour unique and special.
The Palais des Papes is Filled with Art
The Palace of the Popes is filled with extraordinary art which dates back to the 13th-14th entury and fills the chapels of the palace. Intricately detailed decors encase Saint Martial Chapel, along with the frescoes which were painted by Matteo Giovannetti between 1344 and 1345. These were commissioned by Pope Clement and iconically, they tell a story of Saint Martial who was sent by St Peters to spread the word of the Gospel in the Pope’s native region, Limousin. Each painting is a scene of their legends and offers artist techniques of realism and perspective.
Saint John’s Chapel also shows off its routes with delicate fresco paintings of which display both Saint John the Baptist’s story and Saint John the Evangelist’s story. These frescos were painted between 1346 and 1348 and showed a presence of naturalism rather than the livelier decorative patterns that adorned Saint Martial Chapel.
The Palas des Papes Symbolises the Rift in the Catholic Church
Despite the marvel and grandiose of the palace, the motivation for many Popes was to relocate to Rome, leaving the palace with a void of power.
Clement VII was elected into power and with that, began to heavily encourage creative arts into the palace. Further adjustments were made to the palace, which took it further and further away from being the epicentre of Catholic life that everyone had come to respect.
When Benedict XIII took over after Clements death, many people were unsure where their allegiance lay, whether it be Rome or Avignon.
The Palais des Papes Was Later a Place for Creatives
If you’re a book lover, this building is definitely worth a visit. While the books may not be there anymore, it once boasted the most extensive library in Europe, which means those old library rooms will be striking to visit. The palace was also a great home to other creative minds and endeavours such as philosophers, musicians and composers.
The Palais des Papes has held many art exhibitions over the years, a tradition which began in 1947. This came about because Christian Zervos, an art critic, and René Char, a poet, both organised an exhibition together. This exhibition featured several works of some of the most famous artists around the globe, including Picasso, Mondrian, Braque and Matisse.