Monday, November 01, 2010

Église Notre-Dame de Fives, Lille: Death, Purgatory and Heaven

Bruno Chérier(1817-1880)
La Communion en viatique / The Viaticum
Oil on canvas
Église Notre-Dame de Fives, Lille

Bruno Chérier(1817-1880)
Les Âmes du Purgatoire / The Souls of Purgatory
Oil on canvas
Église Notre-Dame de Fives, Lille

« Avec les prières de mon rosaire plein les mains, je nourris les âmes du purgatoire».
(Paul Claudel, « La Maison fermée »)

Bruno Chérier (1817-1880)
La Cour céleste / The Celestial Court c 1873
Oil on canvas
Église Notre-Dame de Fives, Lille

From the 1850s until his death Bruno Chérier seems to have abandoned ambitions and modern life. He devoted himself to the decoration of churches in the North of France especially at Tourcoing, Lille and Loos

His works covered the whole gamut of Catholic religious art

He was one of the great number of religious artists who decorated Churches in France to a very high standard but nowadays he and his ilk are forgotten

Some of their works were destroyed in the First and Second World Wars, others through old age and yet others through renovations encouraged after the Second Vatican Council.

Now there is something of a comeback for Chérier and his fellow artists. There is a growing recognition of their great artistry and also the themes which they attempted to represent.

Interestingly the interest in these artists has started not with the Church authoritites but through art studies in the secular field which have highlighted the beauty and artistry of such works and has demanded the exhibition and conservation of such works.

Even more interestingly perhaps is the designation of such works as part of "la patrimonie" of France and in particular that of the region around Lille.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875)
Portrait de Bruno Chérier (1817-1880), peintre et ami de l'artiste (1874)
Oil on canvas
40.4 cm x 33 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes

For more about Chérier see

Catherine Guillot, préface de François Rebichon, Bruno Chérier (1817-1880) Peintre du Nord, ami de Carpeaux, Septentrion Presses Universitaires, 2010, 112 p., 27 €. ISBN : 9782757401156.

Michèle Moyne, Catherine Guillot, Jacques Foucart, Du dessin au vitrail. Peintures et maîtres verriers du XIXe siècle au nord de la France, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, 2006, 80 p. 16 €. ISBN : 2-902092-19-9