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Saint-Didier in Avignon and king René's retable

The retable | Marianne Casamance / CC-BY-SA
Collegiate church René of Anjou Saint-Didier church in Avignon

The most beautiful piece of art here is the retable: Jesus Christ carrying the Cross. A unique piece ordered by king René to the Italian master Francesco Laurana in 1481.

First French work of art of Renaissance era, it was originally displayed in Célestins church of Avignon, a church king René decorated...

This retable is a real gem: Virgin Mary fainted, so they called it "Our-Lady-of-the-Spasm retable"!

The main and central scene represent Jesus and his hangmen on one side, the Virgin on the other side. In the middle, John. On the right, Magdalene. Some said the young lady supporting Mary was sainte Marthe. Why not! On sides, we have saint Pierre Célestin and saint Benoît.

Below, a Latin sentence says:

Siciludum régis hec sunt monimenta Renati. Jusserat hec quondam fieri que Karolus heres Rex pius absolvi voluit que marmora cernis. Tristia cum gemitu Christi spectacula cunclis Ad mortem liceat vobis spectare fidèles.
Cogitur ecce piis humeris cesusque cruentus Fer[re cru]cem lassus qua criraina nostra ferantur Sacrilegasque nianus Judec gentis inique. Discite dura pati cunctosque subire labores. Discite Christi cole, memoresque estote dolorum Quos Deus ecce tulit. Sic vos licet esse beatos. Anno IIIV XPR MCCCCLXXXI

Which means in English:

This is king René's monument. Charles, his heir, a pious king, completed it. Look, believers, the sad scene of Jesus death. Tired, bloody, he’s carrying the cross to erase our crimes. Suffer as he suffered, learn to bear your pains and remember his own pains. Then you can get beatitude.

On the right of the inscription, we have king René’s coat of arms, made by Laurana’s hand...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!