Saint Corentin Cathedral in Quimper, the jewel of Breton Gothic art
[Click here to see the cathedral's inventory sheet].
History of Saint Corentin Cathedral
In 1239, Bishop Raynaud decided to build the present cathedral on the foundations of an old Romanesque cathedral. In 1410, the vaults of the choir were completed, while the glass windows in the upper windows were installed. In 1424, Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec undertook the construction of the nave and the two towers of the façade.
From the 1850s onwards, the Quimper architect Joseph Bigot undertook the restoration of the building, mainly the decoration of the chapels and the commissioning of new stained glass windows which had been destroyed during the French Revolution. His most spectacular achievement was the completion of the two towers with the construction of the spires between 1854 and 1856, financed by the people of Quimper.
From 1989 to 1999, a restoration campaign revealed the appearance of the cathedral at the end of the 15th century: restitution of the interior polychromy with the reappearance of the ribs treated in yellow and red ochre and general whitewashing of the facings.
At the time of King Gradlon, Saint Corentin established himself as a hermit in the present-day commune of Plomodiern to devote himself entirely to prayer. From then on, the holy man performed several miracles.
One day, Gradlon, the King of Cornouaille, went hunting with his troop in the thick forest that covered the Porzay plain. The king lost his way and finally found the hermitage of Corentin, exhausted and hungry. Corentin managed the miracle of feeding the whole troop with a single small fish. The king, dazzled by this miracle, decided to give his castle near the confluence (Quimper) to Corentin and asked him to become the first bishop of his kingdom.