The recumbent figure of Agnès Sorel too fragile to be loaned

While it should have appeared in the exhibition “The arts in France under Charles VII (1422-1461)” at the Cluny Museum, the recumbent figure of Agnès Sorel will ultimately not leave the Saint-Ours collegiate church in Loches. Travel operations had to be interrupted on Monday February 19 due to weaknesses identified at an old crack, making its journey to the capital too risky.

The municipality had been preparing this move for more than a year, under the supervision of the DRAC Centre-Val de Loire. The operation ultimately quickly proved too delicate. “During the handling of the sculpture, despite all the necessary precautions taken by the works transport company Chenue and the restorer Fabienne Bois, an old break showed signs of weakness” explains the City of Loches in a press release. The crack – spotted since the 19th century – would have started to open when the sculpture was lifted a few millimeters, although it had not worsened during the previous movements of the recumbent figure and during its last restoration campaign in 2015.

Thibaut Noyelle, curator of historical monuments at the DRAC, decided not to move the statue, recalling that “the first issue remains the preservation of heritage”. The Cluny Museum specified in a press release that this choice was made in consultation with the museum and that“beyond the disappointment caused by this news, the safety and preservation of the work take priority”.

Jewel of the town of Loches, the recumbent figure of Agnès Sorel is a finely chiseled alabaster statue from the 15th century, sculpted at the request of the King of France Charles VII and placed on a slab and a black marble chest. The sumptuous tomb was installed in the collegiate church of Loches in 1450 at the request of the deceased, who was the king’s first official favorite. Moved numerous times, the work suffered several damages, notably during the French Revolution.

The exhibition “The arts in France under Charles VII (1422-1461)” will take place at the Cluny Museum from March 12 to June 16, 2024. It focuses on the pivotal moment that was the reign of Charles VII both for history than for art history. Precious paintings, sculptures, pieces of goldwork and even illuminated manuscripts will be exhibited to highlight the richness and diversity of artistic production at the end of the 15th century. Following the cancellation of the loan, the room initially planned to accommodate the recumbent figure of Agnès Sorel will be redeveloped.

Similar Posts