BONNASSIEUX, Jean-Marie Bienaimé
(b. 1810, Panissières, d. 1892, Paris)
Our Lady of France (Notre-Dame-de-France)1860-64
Bronze, 22,7 m
Rocher Corneille, Le Puy-en-Velay
In 1854 Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: France, blessed with appearances of the Virgin at Lourdes in 1858, places itself under her protection. Several monumental Virgins were erected under the Second Empire, the most famous being Our Lady of France, made with the proceeds of a national subscription (214.649 francs), to which in 1856 Napoleon III added the gift of 100.000 kilograms of iron melted down from the 213 cannons captured at Sebastopol. The figure was erected on a residual volcanic hill, the Rocher des Dons, at Le Puy, and the effigy at its feet is that of Monsignor Morlhon, promoter of the statue.