'Flight to Egypt.’
Not only do the frescoes in the Chapelle Saint Sébastien in Lanslevillard reach an astonishing high artistic level, the colours have kept their original saturation as well. This most important work of art in the Haute Maurienne has been painted at the end of the 15th century by artists from Piemonte (now in Italy but then in the same country: Savoy). Its location may seem unexpected: a small village deep in the Alps. But the chapel is situated right at the start of the pass road over the Col du Mont Cenis, in those days one of the main connections between France and Italy.
This fresco, showing the Flight to Egypt, adds some elements that are not part of the Bible story but come from the New Testament apocrypha: the miracle of the date palm bending down, so its fruit can be picked, and the presence of Salome as Jesus' nurse. Photo Paul Smit.