Guillermin's Christ... and condemned men

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Guillermin's Christ - ©Rvalette / CC-BY-SA Guillermin's Christ - ©Rvalette / CC-BY-SA
Black penitents chapel in Avignon Chapel Legend

Do you know that here, we used to find a beautiful Christ statue, made of ivory by Jean Guillemin in 1659, especially for the Black Penitents' brotherhood? We can see it now in one of Avignon museum...

Guillemin came from Lyon, he was in Avignon when the Penitents priest asked him for a Christ statue to decorate his chapel. This sculptor was already famous for his nice work. But when he delivered his statue few days before John the Baptist’s Day, what a surprise!

It really was a masterpiece... Made of a single ivory piece, it’s about 1 metre high, which is pretty big for a statue like this. Guillemin added arms later: he even sculpted a spare paire, in case! Look at this Christ, those extraordinary details: the wrinkle on the forehead, the tense face...

We have here features of a suffering man. And the anatomy and draperies are just perfect... We can see a skull above the Christ, who lost his lower jaw in 1811, during a procession!

Several legends hover over the statue... Some say that one of Guillemin’s nephew was condemned to death. The sculptor gave this statue as a bargaining counter and his nephew was released.

Another story says that a prisoner sculpted this Christ, a condemned man who sculpted this in an ivory piece... the day of his execution, he showed his work... the crowd, amazed, immediately reprieved him !


And also!