ADAM, Nicolas-Sébastien
(b. 1705, Nancy, d. 1778, Paris)

Monument to Queen Catharina Opalinska (detail)

1749 (set up)
Marble
Notre-Dame de Bon Secours, Nancy

The queen, made youthful again, kneels in prayer, while an angel points her way to heaven. The eagle of Poland, the incense burners that smoke with the queen's praises, are unimportant in the central depiction of a simple allegory.

The juxtaposition of the person commemorated and the angel of immortality is not dramatic. In that lack of drama lies its whole point. The hand of the Lord, the revelation of eternal happiness, cannot startle someone who has waited so long for them. The queen's face expresses no surprise, only ecstasy. The angel and she are integrated into a single form, in effect a bas-relief set against the coloured marble of the pyramid; its steep lines are broken by the long undulating diagonal that runs up from the lowest fold in the queen's mantle and culminates in the extended forefinger of the angel's upraised hand.