The Chapel of Rieux
This chapter is somewhat artificial as here we discuss funerary sculpture once again, this time in its most extensive development! The piece in question is not a tomb or a cross but an entire chapel with all of its sculpted decor.
Founded by Jean Tissandier, a Franciscan and Bishop of Rieux-Volvestre (a beautiful medieval town south of Toulouse) from 1324 until 1348, this chapel was built to the east of the large church in the Convent of the Cordeliers. It was possible to pass from one to the other directly.The burial site of Jean Tissandier and his Franciscan friars, this chapel was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century. The epitaph of the Bishop of Rieux reported that he buried his friars there with his own hands.
Maître de Rieux,
Jean Tissendier, évêque de Rieux-Volvestre (1324-1348)
figuré en donateur de la chapelle dite de Rieux (détail de la chapelle)
Entre 1333 et 1344,
Inv. Ra 552
The model carried by the effigy of Jean Tissendier, kneeling as a donor, appears to give a faithful rendering of the exterior architecture of the chapel. Its interior decor remains almost unknown.A group of statues joined the museum as early as 1803. Several of them then suffered obscure vicissitudes. In 1912, the statues exhibited at the museum were already together: the eleven apostles (only four of whom have been definitely identified) then Paul, three Franciscan saints (Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Louis of Toulouse) and the two figures of Jean Tissandier, one recumbent, the other as donor. Two other elements of this set, Christ and the Virgin are nowadays kept at the MuséeBonnat in Bayonne.
This cycle of sculptures is proof of the great vitality of artistic creation in Toulouse before the great plague of 1348 which cost Tissendier his life.
Despite the troubles of the time (plague, war with England...), the art of the chapel of Rieux had a significant influence throughout the region.