Sketch for the crypt of Mardasson Memorial, Bastogne (Belgium), circa 1949
Gouache and ink on paper
46 x 74.5 cm
Donated by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier
Musée national Fernand Léger, Inv. 97075
The architect Georges Dedoyard asked Léger to help decorate the crypt of the memorial erected in Bastogne (Belgium) in memory of the GIs who died during the Battle of the Bulge against the German offensive in 1944. With an ecumenical focus, the three mosaics the painter had created from his sketches depict the three religions of Judaism, Protestantism and Catholicism. Each mosaic contains the symbol of its faith in a central medallion – the candelabra, Bible and a cross – surrounded by colourful abstract forms. The female figures, portrayed in black and white on either side of the compositions, are looking skywards. The mosaics around the three altars, intended for prayer and recollection, illuminate the crypt with bright colours, transforming the confined atmosphere of chapels into a soothing place to be.