Introduction to Saint Trophime, Arles, France

This important pilgrimage church was the starting point of the so-called Via Tolosa, the route that led from Arles to Toulouse (Saint Sernin) with the final destination being Santiago de Compostela. "This road was taken by pilgrims coming from Italy, Switzerland or Central Europe, as well as the "Romieux" who, after Rome, were going to Compostela, or vice versa. They had come after crossing the Alps at Montgenèvre Pass, or by the road along the Ligurian coast" (Roux 77). According to Alan Borg, the earliest church at this site was probably a 9th century Carolingian church dedicated to Saint Stephen but by 972 the relics of Saint Trophimus had been deposited in the church. By the beginning of the 12th century the church was dedicated and named solely for that first bishop of Arles. The impressive facade of the existing church, dated at about 1170-80, shows the influence of classical antiquity, particularly in its gable, classical columnar forms, statues with Roman solidity (albeit a bit squatty), and architectural details--fluted pilasters, classical moldings, and variations of Corinthian capitals. This is not surprising, given the fact that Arles was an important Roman city with Roman monuments that survive even today. (See the place index of this site for images of Roman Arles.) This is a conservative Romanesque style, seen also in Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, the next pilgrimage stop after Arles on the Via Tolosa.

Index to Images of Saint Trophime, Arles, France

(100 images; all of the images of the front facade were photographed in 2007--after the recent cleaning)

Views of the exterior

10 images

Front facade: details of the tympanum

11 images

Front facade: the Last Judgment reliefs

14 images

Front facade: reliefs of the birth and nativity of Jesus

14 images

Saints on the front facade

20 images

Bases to the columns on the front facade

10 images

Views of the interior

10 images

Views of the cloister

11 images

Works Consulted or Quoted:
Alan Borg. Architectural Sculpture in Romanesque Provence. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.
Kenneth John Conant. Carolingian and Romanesque Architecture: 800-1200. New York: Penguin, 1959; 1978.
Julie Roux [in collaboration with others]. The Roads to Santiago de Compostela. Vic-en-Bigorre Cedex, France: MSM, 1999-2004.

Click here to return to index of art historical sites.

Click here to return to index of artists and architects.

Click here to return to chronological index.

Click here to see the home page of Bluffton College.

© 2007 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.