Around 1500. Between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Mystical movements have always largely centred on a meditation on the suffering of Christ. It is to those movements that the art of the end of the century owes this taste for the scenes of the Passion.They are acted out.They are to be found everywhere: in churches, at crossroads and even in private homes.
sculpture d'une vaste région allant du sud de Toulouse aux confins du Cantal, avec des foyers artistiques florissants situés à Toulouse, Albi, Rodez ou encore Villefranche-de-Rouergue. La culture du pastel, dans toute cette zone, a sans doute favorisé l'essor de ces centres et l'afflux des commandes, en cette période de prospérité économique retrouvée.
L'art gothique atteint alors des sommets dont le Saint Michel terrassant le démon est un bel exemple. Les bas-reliefs du Retable de la Passion du Christ appartiennent à une veine narrative et savoureuse moins aristocratique mais tout à fait charmante.The 15th century is particularly well represented at the Musée des Augustins. Recent restorations have restored major works to their original beauty, hidden until now beneath ugly dark crusts due to atmospheric pollution and to dust. In the 15th century, a man's main occupation is the preparation of his death. All good deeds are counted on Judgment Day so that the soul of the deceased may rest in peace. Thus, donations to churches are encouraged, be they in the form of money or works of art.
The faithful identify with Christ to such an extent that they experience a veritable com-Passion. The emotional piety of the time requires, more than ever, pictures of the tragedy of Christ and the Virgin (altarpiece of the Passion, Our Lady of Pity of the Recollects...) with which the faithful can identify.
The masterpiece of sculpture at the end of the Toulousan Middle Ages is a famous Virgin and Child, Nostre Dame de Grasse, whichappears to have inspired a clearrenewal in the sculpture of a vastregion stretching from the south of Toulouse to the edge of the Cantal, withflourishingartistic centres in Toulouse, Albi, Rodez and Villefrande-de-Rouergue. The production of woad throughout this area no doubt fostered the growth of these centres and the steady flow of commissions, in this period of renewed economic prosperity.
Gothic art reached great heights, of which Saint Michael Slaying the Devil is a fine example. The bas-reliefs on the Altarpiece of the Passion of Christ belong to an evocative narrative vein which is less aristocratic but none the less charming.
Sainte Femme ou Vierge de l'Annonciation (?),
Début XVIe s.,
Inv. 61 3 14
With her more slender silhouette and her more impersonal, colder, idealised face, the Holy Woman is a work of transition, still in line with Gothic female figures but moving clearly into the art of the Renaissance with this idealisation of her shape and proportions.