The paintings on the ceiling vault in Les Cars stables are practically France’s only example of this type of equestrian-themed decoration. Certain elements were revealed and the preservation of these paintings was stabilized during recent renovations.
Parts which can still be seen were studied, and show that the decor was divided into 4 categories.
On the lower part, all that is left is a fragment of the letters « F » and « BAS » underlined by a swirl.
The upper part is easier to decipher and more diverse, with large horses. Each horse has a distinctive posture and is painted differently. Some seem to be walking; another who has a rider on its back, is rearing. The colour process varies.
You can see the yellow silhouette of a horse vehicle and a strange character beneath the horse: perhaps a groom holding a comb. The character’s disproportioned size compared to the horse, probably means that it was added to the painting later on.
Above a series of lines, symbolizing a gate, another part shows a succession of horses and riders. The smaller pattern size and the presence of gates invite visitors to perceive these scenes as a background to the other scenes we saw earlier. One seems to represent a tournament during which rider has fallen off of his horse.
The last part develops along the top line and presents a series of colourful medallions. There is a monogram on two of them. This probably refers to the person who ordered the paintings in the late 16th century : Count François des Cars.
The paintings are exceptional because of their quality and rareness. They are an eloquent tribute to the power and prestige of the lords of Les Cars during the Renaissance.