Le Thoronet Abbey, one of the wonders of twelfth-century Cistercian architecture and still revered by architects today, nestles in a wooded valley in Provence, south of France.
This book is a pictorial appreciation of the abbey, photographed by Lucien Herve in the mid-1950s and introduced by Le Corbusier. 'The pictures in this book are witnesses to the truth', is how he describes Herve's photographs of the Romanesque abbey. Herve's exquisite study presents the building throughout the course of a day, depicting the changing play of light and shadow on its stone vaulted exterior and interior. Highly textured and almost abstract in quality, his photographs reveal how the abbey is defined as much by light as by the conventions of Romanesque architecture, as well as conveying the intense spirituality of the Cistercian monastic order.
Arranged according to the canonical hours of prayer, Herve's photographs are complemented by quotations from the psalms and the saints. An essay by Father Samuel of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sept-Fons provides an insight into the Cistercian monastic order, while architect John Pawson contributes a personal appreciation of this fine example of Cistercian architecture.