n°209/ Pristine

February 2016

by Nathalie Azoulai

A forgiven sculptor of the French Third Republic, René de Saint-Marceaux (1845-1915) should be rediscovered, at least for his amazing sculpture so called First Communion that one can admire at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Lyon. An immaculate young girl is kneeling on a prie-dieu, her hands together to pray, her eyes closed to address an internal call or maybe to avoid a too dazzling face to face with God out of which could come a disruptive ecstasy, as Saint-Marceaux might have observed it while admiring Michelangelo's or Bernini's sculptures in Italy. An intense white marble emphasized by the countless folds of the endless train that might convey a male fantasy about non human girls deprived of both blood and nerves, that would only show to the world this perfect pristine flesh of theirs... (And last but not least, one should know that Saint-Marceaux married Marguerite Jourdain, one of Marcel Proust's inspirations for his worldwide famous Mrs Verdurin's character.)

 René de Saint-Marceaux