The first church was built in 779 AD and rebuilt in the Romanesque style in the 11th century. During the 16th century, the church underwent partial reconstruction in the Flamboyant Gothic style. The collegiate church we see today, St. Stephen’s with its modern domed bell tower, dates from 1824.
Ligier Richier’s “Entombment”, a group sculpture comprising 13 figures that are slightly larger than life, shows one episode from the entombment of Christ.
Christ is in the centre, a lifeless but not rigid cadaver being carried by Joseph of Arimathea ad Nicodemus. Mary Magdalen is kneeling down, kissing Christ’s feet. She is luxuriously dressed in the fashion of King Francis I’s day (full slashed sleeves).
The Virgin Mary is collapsing in anguish but is supported by St. John and Mary of Cleophas while an angel (a portrait of Ligier Richier?) can be seen bearing the instruments of Christ’s passion. The angel’s face expresses a sense of infinite pain.
The two soldiers at the back right of the sculpture have just played a game of dice with Christ’s tunic as the prize while the “centurion” figure seems to be thinking about the drama of the crucifixion. Salome stands slightly behind the others, preparing the shroud with devotion and sorrow.
It would appear that this niche was not the position originally planned for the masterpiece by the artist. The various groups of people seem to be too close to each other. Despite this, the work is one of the sculptor’s main achievements, moving for its depiction of the feelings of the various figures.
The Latin couplet above the niche can be translated as follows:
“Passer-by, admire this tomb of Jesus Christ.
There are more holy examples but none more fine.”
Information and guided tours
- Office de Tourisme Cœur de Lorraine
- Tel. + 33 (0) 329 890647
Although located in St. Stephen’s Church since 1824, this terracotta statue originally stood in the chapel of the Minims’ friary. With her right arm, she protects the representatives of the Church; with her left, she protects ordinary people and royalty.
Made after the Great War, these modern stained-glass windows include a large number of references to flora and fauna in their colours and the shapes. Most of the religious inscriptions are written in modern French.