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Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur church in Bar-sur-Loup, a fatal dance as punishment

The church | MOSSOT / CC-BY-SA
Legend Parish church Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur church in Bar-sur-Loup

Count of Bar’s punishment

In this nice small Romanesque church is a strange painting on a wooden canvas, representing a macabre dance with a Provençal inscription, 33 Alexandrine verses.

The painting is about 1,70 metres high and 1,30 metres large.

According to the tradition, this dance refers to an old and strange news story...

The legend says count of Bar organized a dance in his castle, during Lent, despite the Church’ interdiction.

Mysterious deaths suddenly happened during the dance...

A kind of divine punishment? The count, repentant, ordered this painting in memory of the drama and displayed it in the chapel dedicated to Saint-Arnoux, especially raised for the occasion.

A mortal dance...

The painter represents the count with a tambourine and a whistle, as a musician: after all, he was the main character, who defied authorities!

We see a small devil on his head, dancing and laughing. Next to him, well-dressed spectators.

On the right, the cursed dance... What have we got? Several dancers couples with a small devil on their heads. On the foreground, a dead man lying!

On the foreground, we also can see a skeleton with arrows and a bow: like Cupid ready to shoot! But here, arrows are mortal...

Besides, we see a wounded man, falling on the ground. The devil is on his shoulder, catching his soul!

And on the right side, a devil puts a man in a monster’s mouth: Hell! This painting dates back to the end of the 15th century, painted by anonymous artists from Nice area...

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