France: Haute Maurienne - paulsmit
'Saint Anthony.’

Saint Anthony (the Great) is shown as a monk in the Espace Baroque museum in Lanslebourg. That's because he is often called the father of all monks, because he was the first Christian eremite to attempt living in the Egyptian desert and not on the city outskirts as some ascetics had done before him. This inspired others to a monastic way of life. The bell and the letter T ('tau") are his attributes.

In the Alps Saint Anthony is the patron saint of domesticated animals. Since Savoy has always been famous for its cheese and since the Col de Mont Cenis was one of the most important routes to Italy in those days, cattle farmers and the donkey drivers recognized Anthony as their best friend. Therefore nearly every village in the Haute Maurienne has its own St. Anthony chapel.

This statue, carved out of wood and painted, is made in 1629 by Jean Clappier. The box is painted by less talented village artists and shows John the Baptist and Matthew. Photo Paul Smit.