- Zarbula’s successor
- Sundials in Abriès-Ristolas
- Sundials in Aiguilles-en-Queyras
- Sundials in Arvieux
- Sundials in Château-Ville-Vieille
- Sundials in Molines-en-Queyras
- Sundials in Saint-Véran
- Churches and chapels
- Other decorative features
- Sundials in the Hautes-Alpes outside the Queyras
- Sundials in other departments
- Find out more
Giovanni Francesco Zarbula was a nineteenth century Piedmontese artist who painted many sundials in the Hautes-Alpes and Italy. His first was done in 1830 at Les Escoyères (Arvieux) and his last at Pragelato in Piedmont in 1872. All in all, he produced about thirty in the Briançon region and forty in the Queyras.
Zarbula’s paintings were frescoes, from the Italian ‘al fresco’, a technique involving the use of water-based natural pigments. Paint is applied directly onto a wet plaster surface. This technique goes back to ancient times. It gives the fresco great durability which modern painting can’t match.
Almost a century later, a French artist, Rémi Potey, began to restore some of Zarbula’s sundials. Very soon he was painting sundials of his own, which surpassed those of his predecessor through the richness and fine detail of his design and the variety of his motifs. A great lover of nature and an unrivalled animal photographer, Potey often put mountain landscapes into his sundials, along with animals – eagles, owls, partridges, ibex and chamois – or flowers, in the spirit of the Regional Natural Park of the Queyras.
In 30 years Rémi Potey produced almost 150 sundials in the Hautes-Alpes and neighbouring Departments, including 58 in the Queyras alone. His work may also be seen on the signs for the MCostume Museum in Abriès and for the Casse Deserte in the Arvieux commune.
Sundials in Abriès-Ristolas
(*) In ancient Rome there was an “official time”, which was indicated by a sundial or solarium in the Forum or great main square of the city. Hence the Latin expression ‘to go to the solarium’ meaning ‘to go to the main square’.
Sundials in Aiguilles-en-Queyras
Sundials in Arvieux
Sundials in Château-Ville-Vieille
Sundials in Molines-en-Queyras
Sundials in Saint-Véran
Churches and chapels
Other decorative features
Sundials in the Hautes-Alpes outside the Queyras
Sundials in other departments
Find out more
We recommend the book Cadrans solaires du Queyras (‘Sundials of the Queyras’) by Gaëlle and Pierre Putelat (Editions du Queyras), which also explains the technique of fresco painting