GIRARDON, François
(b. 1628, Troyes, d. 1715, Paris)

Monument of Richelieu

Church of Sorbonne, Paris

Apart from the sculptures for Versailles, Girardon received many other commissions, both private and public. In the monument to Richelieu in the church of the Sorbonne (1675-94) he provides the classical type for the free-standing altar-tomb. Like all Girardon's works, it was carefully designed to suit its position, which was originally the middle of the choir on the main axis of the church. Here it would have presented two principal aspects, one towards the altar, the other towards the north, from which side it would be approached by those who came into the church from the university. The latter would see the full-length recumbent figure of the Cardinal exactly from the side, except that the upper half of his body is turned so as to face towards the spectator; while the mourning figure at his feet would be seen exactly from behind. From the altar the group is again coherent with the mourning figure leading straight back to the dead man, who turns his head so as to look up at the altar and is supported by the allegorical figure of Piety whose gaze follows his.

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