Cloister of St. Trophime

Arles - Monument

Date: 12th-14th century
Era: Middle Ages
Type: Religious architecture
Status: Property of the Town of Arles, listed as a national Historic Monument in 1846 and 1943 and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981
Saint Trophime Cloister is at the centre of the canonical buildings of the episcopal town.
In the 12th century, the space to the south of Saint Trophime Cathedral was occupied by two large complexes, on the one hand the Palais de l’Evêque, and on the other hand the Claustrum, a space reserved for the community of canons, 'those who live according to the law of the Church'.
It was around this time that the Arles Chapter was affected by the Gregorian reform.
This reform attempted to impose rules for communal life on the clerics responsible for assisting the Bishop and managing Church assets. Work was therefore begun to construct convent buildings around a cloister.
The first two Romanesque galleries of this cloister contain exceptional sculptures, true masterpieces of Provençal Romanesque art.
In the 14th century, two other Gothic-style galleries were added to the building.
The later modifications to the episcopal town preserved the cloister and the adjacent rooms. However, time, rain erosion and atmospheric pollution have damaged these jewels of mediaeval statuary.
Studies are currently being carried out with a view to restoring the building, in the same way as the portal of the neighbouring church was restored.

Information provided by OT Arles

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