Saint-Étienne Church

Bar-le-Duc, France

Saint-Étienne Church was built in 1315-1630 in Gothic style and has also some Renaissance features. The most important sight is the the Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon, a late Gothic period funerary monument. It consists of an altarpiece and a limestone statue of a putrefied and skinless corpse which stands upright and extends his left hand outwards. Completed sometime between 1544 and 1557, the majority of its construction is attributed to the French sculptor Ligier Richier. Other elements, including the coat of arms and funeral drapery, were added in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively.

It was commissioned as the resting place of René of Chalon, Prince of Orange, son-in-law of Duke Antoine of Lorraine. René was killed aged 25 at the siege of St. Dizier on 15 July 1544, from a wound sustained in battle the previous day. Richier presents him as an écorché, with his skin and muscles decayed, leaving him reduced to a skeleton. This apparently fulfilled his deathbed wish that his tomb depict his body as it would be three years after his death. His left arm is raised as if gesturing towards heaven. Supposedly, at one time his heart was held in a reliquary placed in the hand of the figure's raised arm. Unusually for contemporaneous objects of this type, his skeleton is standing, making it a 'living corpse', an innovation that was to become highly influential. The tomb effigy is positioned above the carved marble and limestone altarpiece.

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Details

Founded: 1315
Category: Religious sites in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Samuel Desitter (2 years ago)
Don't miss Ligier Richier's Transi at the bottom right!
Town Traveller (5 years ago)
Open from 10am
Chang Leonard (5 years ago)
Open only during some special events like the Renaissance festival (maybe other times)
Anton Schweder (6 years ago)
Very good.
Rare Music Channel (7 years ago)
Beautiful Church! Nice statues inside!
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