Romanesque Art

Art in Moissac: re-creating tradition

At Moissac, history is alive. The stones and writings give testimony to the artistic and intellectual works of the Middle Ages and here that tradition is renewed.

Romanesque art, living art

From the 10th to the 11th centuries, a prolific period for the writing workshop (scriptorium) of Moissac, 160 manuscripts have come down to us.

The manuscripts copied by the monks are superbly illustrated. The illuminated manuscripts, their letters decorated with vegetal motifs or evocative figures, work in harmony with the sculptures of the cloister and tympanum to help us understand the culture and the imagination of their time and place.

To discover these artistic productions the Centre d’art roman de Moissac (Centre for Romanesque Art of Moissac) opens its collection of specialized documentation to the public; its photo library allows one to peruse thousands of colour reproductions of illuminated manuscripts produced by the Moissac scriptorium or by other scriptoria of the same period (Limoges, Albi, Saint Sever...), whereas the originals are preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.

The Centre for Romanesque Art helps perpetuate intellectual work at Moissac

  • It organizes:
  • Temporary exhibitions
  • Lectures
  • Conferences

In this way the Centre for Romanesque Art continues the Moissac tradition of preservation and transmission of knowledge.

Medieval music : re-creation or recreation ?

Moissac is also a centre of musical creation and re-creation

The religious community of Moissac performed liturgical chants. To find and understand the modes of interpretation in use 100 years ago, the Centre itinérant des musiques anciennes, or CIRMA, conducts research into ancient musical practices. It is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and the evolution of musical repertories, both oral and written.

Thanks to the CIRMA, created by Marcel Pérès, Moissac gives a breath of fresh air to ancient music and looks to renew historical musicology.

The CIRMA organizes workshops and develops interdisciplinary activities. It works with the Organum ensemble, a prestigious medieval music ensemble made up of European musicians and invites musicians of the oral tradition to interpret its music.

Moissac enriches its artistic heritage by making the activities of the abbey live and come back to life.