Cultural centre and Saint-Yrieix Bible

The Jean-Pierre Fabrègue Cultural Centre was built in 1994 and is classed as Architecture Contemporaine Remarquable (Remarkable Contemporary Architecture). In this video, discover this building and the priceless treasure that it houses: the Saint-Yrieix Bible, a 12th-century work with magnificent illumination.

The Jean-Pierre Fabrègue Cultural Centre, built in 1994, is a cultural facility that includes a performance space and a library. To create the spaces for these two functions, architects Jean-Pierre Sfez and Yves Le Jeune wished to build two very distinctive wings that would be easily recognisable by their size and shape. The building’s location opposite the head office of the printing company Fabrègue helped highlight the project’s direct link with the publishing world. A glass-tile wall marks the main gable of the part dedicated to books. The building’s originality earned it the label “Architecture Contemporaine Remarquable” (Remarkable Contemporary Architecture).

Moreover, the cultural centre is home to an exceptional artwork: the Bible of Saint-Yrieix, dating from the 12th century and classed as a Historic Monument in 1988. Specialists have described the book as the most beautiful Roman manuscript written and kept in Limousin. Its large size, 57 by 42 centimetres, is similar to that of giant Italian bibles from the same period. It is made up of 376 pages of parchment made from calf, goat and sheep skin. The bible weighs 23 kilograms. It is especially remarkable by the quality of its miniature illustrations, with initials decorated with intertwining leaves, fantastic beasts, angels and important figures. Characters and scenes from the Old and New Testaments are also depicted. These miniature illustrations are undoubtedly the work of Pierre Del Casta, a famous artist illuminator.

The fact that the cultural centre is home to this treasure is reflected in the building’s architectural features. The safe in which the bible is kept is adorned by metal plates painted in black and gold, which bring to mind the illustrations.

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