The Great Audience
The Great Audience Hall has the second largest nafe in the southern wing. It has the same dimensions as the Great Chapel, which is directly above it, but is not as high. The different levels of ground beneath the Great Audience Hall provided space for a lower hall to house the Theology School.
The Great Audience Hall is Jean de Louvres’s masterpiece. Its proportions are indeed remarkable : 52 metres long by 16.80 metres wide and 11 metres high. It is divided into two naves by five pillars, on which the intersecting ribs of the vaults rest. On the wall side, the ribs rest on sculpted imposts with representations of mythical beasts.
From 1336, it was called the Court of the Rota, from the Latin «Rota» meaning «wheel», on account of the round bench on which judges sat. A barrier separated them from the rest of the hall. An inscription on the north wall indicates where Bernard Hugues de Cardalhac sat.
Another decoration, also destroyed in the 19th century, depicted a Calvary. The painting, whose beautiful remains are still visible, was set above the altar, which stood a against the east wall.
The court assigned ecclesiastic beneficies throughout Christendom, heard hundreds of appeals, and corresponded throughout Europe. It could deal with up to 8,000 letters and 10,000 petitions a year.
The court sat in the eastern bay where the keystones bear the coats of arms of Clement VI and those of Rome, S.P.Q.R., which stand for «The Senate and the People of Rome». This motto is a reminder of the Pontiff and the pontifical administration’s Roman origins. An enormous Last Judgement, which no longer exists, once adorned the northern wall. This iconographic theme is directly related to the place’s function and underscores the court’s infallibility
|AVIGNON TOURISME 2009 | TOUS DROITS DE REPRODUCTION RESERVES|