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Rue du Calvaire
(Enclos paroissial)

Le Grand Calvaire

The Great Calvary


Guimiliau /  Le Grand Calvaire   Guimiliau /  Le Grand Calvaire


The Grand Calvary of Guimiliau includes 37 scenes with over 200 persons. It has an octoganal base with four corners wings with arches. Base and wings have two series of statues: a frieze and statues on the platform. In the center is a single cross with braces. Apart from the obvious work of the restorer in the central cross, there are many hands in the execution, recognizable by the depiction of eyes.
An partly destroyed inscription on the architrave of the western niche could clarify something about the author: 1581 AD Gloriam DOMINI CRUX: NOC: FACTA: FUI (T) (The cross was made to the glory of the Lord by Stefan (?)). On the statue of the Adoration of the Magi the year 1588 is seen.

The Cross

Central cross on round pole, with a crucifix with corpus and angels gathering the blood. On the braces twin statues: Virgin / St. Peter, St. John the Apostle / St. Yves, Remnants of the former cross are placed on the arc of the entrance of enclosure: riders, Virgin and Child.
Calvaire de Guimiliau
Westside: Virgin / St. John the Apostle
Calvaire de Guimiliau
Angel on the church roof

The base

The frieze and the statues on top of the bases depicts scenes of Jesus' life in a non-chronological order.

(Click on the small black-and-white photo for a large photo in color in a separate window)


On the front is a niche with a statue of Saint Paul Aurelian.
  1. top:
    1. Crowning with Thorns / Couronnement d'épines.
    2. Pieta and St. Mary Magdalen / Vierge de Pitié et Madeleine.
    3. Resurrection of Christ / Résurrection du Christ.
    4. Katel-gollet: a Breton legend. It shows a promiscuous girl in the hell, symbolized by the yawning mouth of a monster.
  2. frieze:
    1. Saint John the Evangelist / Saint Jean.
    2. Entry into Jerusalem / Entrée à Jérusalem.
    3. The Last Supper / La Cène.
Calvaire de Guimiliau
St. Paul Aurelian
  1. top:
    1. Descent of Jesus into the hell / Descente de Jésus aux limbes.
    2. Veronica and the Holy Face / Véronique et la Sainte Face.
    3. Baptism of Jesus / Baptême de Jésus.
    4. Carrying the Cross / Portement de Croix.
  2. frieze:
    1. Saint Luke / Saint Luc
    2. Visitation.
    3. Washing of the Feet / Lavement des pieds.
    4. Annunciation / Annonciation.
  1. top:
    1. Rider / Cavalier.
    2. Three Holy Women / Trois Saintes Femmes: that of Mary Stuart is right, recognizable by her face and his attire.
    3. Burial / Ensevelissement.
    4. Road to Emmaus appearance / Disciples d'Emmaüs.
  2. frieze:
    1. Saint Matthew / Saint Mathieu.
    2. Adoration of the Magi / Adoration des Mages. Dated 1588.
    3. Nativity / Nativité.
    4. Flight into Egypt / Fuite en Egypte.
  1. top:
    1. Pilate on his throne / Pilate sur son trône. Pilate se lave les mains
    2. Jesus hands are tied / Jésus les mains liées. Scène de dérision
    3. Flagellation.
  2. frieze:
    1. Saint Mark / Saint Marc.
    2. Presentation of Jesus / Présentation de Jésus.
    3. Agony / Agonie.
    4. Arrest of Jesus / Arrestation de Jésus.
    5. St. Peter cuts the ear of Malchus / Saint Pierre coupe l'oreille de Malchus.

Detail photos

The Four Evangelists in the frieze on the protruding corners.

Calvaire de Guimiliau
St. Jean et l'aigle
St. John with an eagle (2a)
Calvaire de Guimiliau
St. Luc et le taureau
St. Luke with a bull (4a)
Calvaire de Guimiliau
St. Matthieu et l'enfant
St. Matthew with an angel (6a)
Calvaire de Guimiliau
St. Marc et le lion
St. Mark with a lion (8a)

Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Entry into Jerusalem / Entrée à Jérusalem (2b)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
The Last Supper / La Cène (2c)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Descent into the hell and Veronica / Descente aux limbes et Véronique (3a 3b)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Carrying the Cross / Portement de Croix (3d)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Washing of the Feet / Lavement des pieds (4c)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Annunciation / Annonciation (4d)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Rider / Cavalier (5a)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Burial / Ensevelissement (5c)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Road to Emmaus appearance / Disciples d'Emmaüs (5d)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Adoration of the Magi / Adoration des Mages (6b)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Flight into Egypt / Fuite en Egypte (6d)
Guimiliau - Le Grand Calvaire
Presentation of Jesus / Présentation de Jésus (8b)

Calvary (calvaire)

Calvary or Golgotha was the site, outside of ancient Jerusalem's early first century walls, at which the crucifixion of Jesus occurred. In religius sculpture, a calvary is a type of monumental public crucifix with two or more adjoining statues.
In northern France, Belgium, and southern Netherlands calvaries were erected at the junction of routes and tracks or on cemeteries, usually showing the crucifix with statues of Saint John the Apostle and Saint Mary Magdalena.
The calvaire in Bretagne is distinguished from a simple crucifix cross by the inclusion of three-dimensional figures surrounding the Crucifixion itself, typically representing Mary and the apostles of Jesus, though later saints and symbolic figures may also be depicted.
In Central Europe, a calvary is a complex of shrines or chapels containing not only the sculpture or painting of Crucifixion of Jesus, but all the Stations of the Cross. (Wikipedia).

Sources & Information


  • Breton saint
  • Calvary
  • Christ (Crucifix)
  • Evangelists (Four)
  • Horseman
  • Mary, St.
  • Matthew, St.
  • Paul Aurelian, St.
  • Peter, St.
  • Pieta
  • Location (N 48°29'18" - W 3°59'50")

    Via the links below you can find the position:

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    WikiMapia map

    Item Code: frbr118; Photograph: 31 May 2012
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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