Ligier Richier, the greatest artist in Lorraine during the Renaissance, was born in around 1500 in Saint Mihiel, in the active and open community of elite craftsmen. Nothing is known about the years of training undergone by the young sculptor, but he must surely have benefited from the rich tradition of the "imagiers" (painters, sculptors and engravers) in the region, from the influences from Champagne and Burgundy, Flanders and the Rhine that came together on the banks of the Meuse, and from the humanist revival movement that animated the capital of the "Barrois non mouvant" area (to the west of the River Meuse).
From 1530, he was under the protection of Duke Antoine of Lorraine, for whom he did important work. Ligier Richier did work in wood, but preferred pale, soft limestone with its fine grain, and few veins, extracted at Saint Mihiel and Sorcy. He experimented with refined polishing techniques, with which he was able to give the stone a marble-like appearance. The innovative genius of Ligier Richier was also reinforced by the style and iconography spread by the engravings of Dürer and Mantegna, and also perhaps by painting and stained glass.Converting to the Reformed Church, Ligier Richier finished his days in Geneva, the city of Calvin, in 1566 or 1567. After him, his son and nephews maintained the reputation of his workshop. The works of Ligier Richier which have survived to the present day are all inspired by religious or funereal subjects. The traditional character of his subjects - the Passion of Christ occupies a predominant place - does not take away from the originality of the grand, dramatic art of the Lorraine master, the heights his thoughts reached. They already brought him fame during his lifetime, and have made a great impression on poets and travellers down to the present day.
The Skeleton, or Flayed
The Holy Woman in a Bonnet
Perhaps from a convent in Verdun, this stone statue is placed in a mixed group made up of six statues coloured recently, of varying quality and from different periods.
The attributing of the Pietà in the parish church at Etain to Ligier Richier has never been disputed, but dating it has been a problem.
The Virgin, or the Lady of Génicourt
Everything in the church at Génicourt-sur-Meuse; the architecture, the furniture, the stained-glass windows, the painted decoration - all give the impression of a quality parish grouping from the time of Ligier Richier.
The Passion Reredos
The attribution of the reredos at Hattonchâtel, one of the most refined works of the Lorraine Renaissance, to Ligier Richier has sometimes been dismissed or bitterly disputed, but its link with the art of the sculptor of Saint-Mihiel has never been seriously doubted.
The Entombment of Christ
Recently restored, the Entombment or the Easter Sepulchre, is justly regarded as a peak of Lorraine sculpture in the 16th century, one of the most beautiful adornments of the rich heritage of Saint Mihiel, and one of Ligier Richier's major works.
The Ligier Richier Route allows the visitor to travel around the Meuse finding the most beautiful sculptures of the Lorraine Renaissance
Discover the Ligier Richier Route - Route Ligier Richier