Decorated Wood Arches Chillon Castle

Artistic Delights: Switzerland

Next in my series of artistic delights I discovered while in Europe: Chillon Castle in Switzerland. After we left France, we journeyed by train to Switzerland and spent one night there. A friend of my husband met us at the train station and whisked us off for an afternoon of sightseeing (and an evening eating fondue – yum!!). She drove us almost the whole length of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), and all I can say is WOW about the scenery. The lake was on one side of the road, and hills and hills full of vineyards were on the other side. I could see snowy mountain peaks in the distance. She took us to Chillon Castle, and this was the first time I had visited a castle; I was very excited! This photo is the outside.

Chillon Castle in Switzerland
Chillon Castle in Switzerland

As we first entered the castle, I think we were entering a basement area which ended up being a prison area. I even took a photo of a noose, which gave me the shivers. Anyway, the architecture was the first thing that struck me as we entered. Look at those beautifully arranged crossed arches, holding up the ceiling. The application of geometry in the real world always amazes me. As we picked our way deeper into the bowels of the castle, I saw rock everywhere. Rock forming the walkways in the basement, rock placed just so to create walls, rock that formed stairways. You all know how much I love colour, but the patterns I saw fed my brain.

Cross Arches Chillon Castle
Cross Arches Chillon Castle

At one point in the dark basement prison, we spied light coming from somewhere. Getting closer, we saw this gridded window with its wood shutters opened. I guess people living in that part of the castle were sometimes able to get sunlight and fresh air. I was attracted to the grid pattern covering the opening, plus the wood shutters with metal bars across them. When I got closer to take a photo, I noticed just how emerald-coloured the lake water was. Can you see the intense colour near the bottom of the metal grid? The colour was stunning in real life!

Lake Geneva Green Water
Lake Geneva Green Water

After exploring the lower levels of the castle complex, we ambled through massive rooms. These rooms had fireplaces that were taller than I am! Many of the walls and ceilings were decorated elaborately with paint, pattern, and wood attachments. You can see one example here: notice the chevron pattern on the wall. I imagine that was painted on there ages ago with natural and ground pigments from the earth. Also notice the pattern formed on the arches, walls, and ceilings just by attaching strips of wood. And then the carving on just one post. Imagine all the thousands of hours all this building and decorating took!

Decorated Wood Arches Chillon Castle
Decorated Wood Arches Chillon Castle

We also wandered around the courtyards. Here I spied yet another arched window with beautiful decoration inside the frame. Pattern upon pattern upon endless pattern; I love it. I expect that all this pattern my brain absorbed will work its way out in my making, drawing, and painting at some point. I do love geometry and its influence. Speaking of that…I just realized that a project I did last week for a Christmas gift was a working out of pattern! I forgot to take a photo; but for the first time, I drew a sugar skull after looking at images of them and realizing I could use geometry to draw the basic shape! That was fun. I decorated it with flowers and pattern and put it on a handmade book.

Arch Window Chillon Castle
Arch Window Chillon Castle

Finally, my last artistic delight of Switzerland; Lac Leman, also known as Lake Geneva. This is just one teeny part of the lake, but look at those beautiful green hills surrounding it. We did not get to see the Alps, but seeing such a huge and gorgeous lake was breathtaking.

Lac Leman Lake Geneva Switzerland
Lac Leman Lake Geneva Switzerland

I took SO MANY photos during our trip, especially in museums or places that had lots of art, colour, and pattern. I am very picky about taking photos, so to take lots is unusual for me. But wow, do I have a stash of photos to inspire me in artmaking. Two more posts are coming up for this series: Germany and Ireland. After that, I have many more things to show you via photos and writing! Take care.

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