The façades in Collonges-la-Rouge are lavishly decorated, especially around their openings.
Many windows and doors are surmounted by single or double accolade lintels, which was a common Gothic flamboyant shape, used in the 14th and 15th centuries, and up until the Renaissance.
The door and window frames have different types of moulding : chamfer moulding, which is a simple and straight type of angle-cutting, cavetto moulding, with hollow curves, and torus moulding which is convex, semi-circular moulding.
The strips are horizontal mouldings which give rhythm to the facades. The one on this house is prolonged by vertical ribs, which end with sculpted corbels. The one on the right is well preserved, and represents a mermaid holding a comb in one hand, and a mirror in the other. Representing imaginary creatures was common during the Renaissance. There is another one near Collonges, in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. The left corbel is quite damaged and may have represented a man riding a dolphin, much like Poseidon, the sea god in Greek mythology.
The Vassignac residence near the church, also has a very well preserved sculpted corbel, representing a man’s head, which is part of the rich main door mouldings.
However, the most elaborate decors can be found on some of the town’s small castles, such as the Gothic flamboyant Vassignac castle door, crowned with an accolade and pinacles decorated with hooks, or this decor on castle Maussac, crowned with a typical Renaissance-style shell.
Several door lintels and chimneys boast a badge with or without a coat of arms, and sometimes associated with other decors such as these angels.
Lastly, from the 18th century, and especially in the 19th century, chronograms and construction dates were often sculpted upon lintels.
Between towers and “castels”
- 13. Maurice BIRAUD
- 14. Architectural decorations
Take a closer look at the façades of Collonges’s houses, thanks to this video. Let’s start with the “mermaid’s house” where you are standing!