Cordeliers church commemorates duke of Lorraine’s memory: raised between 1477 and 1484, it was the foundation of one and only man, René II.
He raised the convent church to celebrate his victory on duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold, died in front of Nancy’s rampart in 1477. Then, he gave it to Cordeliers brothers, who raised a convent few years after.
René wanted to be buried here, in his church. He broke dukes of Lorraine's tradition, who were buried in the church of St-Georges. To hell with the tradition, thought René. In his nice High Gothic church, he was buried in a luxurious grave.
His widow Philippa of Gueldre raised this monument for him, sculpted by Mansuy Gauvin, the one who made the Bonsecours Virgin's statue. René II’s illuminator, Pierquin Fauteret, painted the grave. We can see René kneeling down in front of the Virgin and baby Jesus.
Next to him, a prayer stool with a crown, a sword, a sceptre and books. The duke and the Virgin statues were destroyed during the Revolution and replaced in 1818.
You think René’s grave was beautiful? Oh, wait, and look at others dukes’ graves! A special mention to Philippa of Gueldre’s recumbent figure... René II’s second wife, who died in 1547 was a nun: she’s like sleeping, her head bending on a cushion.
Her wrinkled face seems so quiet! This nice recumbent statue was made by Ligier Richier, the talented sculptor who designed Bar-le-Duc's skeleton (Transi), do you remember?
The chapel was raised in the 17th century. We read above the entrance door: Siste mirans, Viator, Quot Lotharingiae duces hic sepulti Tôt heroes; Quot ducisssae Tot mulieres fortes; Quot eorum liberi Tot principes irnperio nati, Coelo digniores, which means: "Stop and look. Several dukes of Lorraine were buried here, lots of heroes"
Charles III launched the building site in 1607. Italian architect Jean-Baptiste Stabili and Jean Richier made the chapel like the Medici's one in Florence. But the duke passed away, and the place wasn’t completed! His successor carried on. In 1632, Simon Drouin ended the dome. Finally! Here was the eagerly-awaited chapel! They buried here:
• Antoine and his wife Renée of Bourbon
• François I and Christine of Denmark
• Charles III and Claude of France
• François II
• Léopold-Clément (duke Léopold’s elder son) and his brother François
• duke Léopold himself...
What about René II? He was buried in Cordeliers church, do you remember? What about king of Poland Stanislas? He was buried in Bonsecours church with his family.