Father of the Latin Church
1st century

The decision to have monumental sculpted decoration on the balustrade and the pediment of the Royal Chapel was taken in around 1705. The carefully chosen subject matter of the decoration mixes allegory with great figures of Christianity. The four evangelists rub shoulders with the twelve apostles, the four Fathers of the Latin Church, the four Fathers of the Greek Church and six allegories of Christian virtue.

Sculptor
Anselme Flamen (1647-1717)

Date sculpted
1707

Height
2.92 metres, including plinth

Material
Tonnerre stone

The restoration of the Royal Chapel

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Saint Bartholomew

Represented as an ageing man, Saint Bartholomew the apostle has a thick beard and long hair. He is wearing a tunic and a cloak and is brandishing a Roman sword in his right hand. Although he is included each time in the lists of the 12 apostles, Saint Bartholomew is mentioned very little in the Gospels or the Acts of the Apostles. After the death of Christ, he left to evangelise Arabia and Mesopotamia before going to Armenia, where he died. Legend has it that he was flayed alive with a knife before being crucified. Several Western churches claim to conserve different-sized relics of pieces of his skin. This has led to him being considered as the patron saint of all crafts related to working skins, such as butchers, tanners, glove-makers, bookbinders and curriers.

Saint Bartholomew - detail

© EPV/Thomas Garnier

THE SCULPTOR ANSELME FLAMEN

Born in Saint-Omer, Flamen trained in Paris under his fellow countryman Gaspard Marsy. After a period spent at the French Academy in Rome between 1675 and 1679, he was received at the Academy Royal in 1681 and worked regularly at Versailles. He notably sculpted the two groups titled Fauna with a Kid and Cyparissus with his Stag for the Royal Way. His style is characterised by light gracefulness.

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