Sketch for the Audincourt Church stained-glass window “Pax”, circa 1950
Gouache on paper
19 x 48 cm
Donated by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier
Musée national Fernand Léger , INV. MNFL 97054
In the suburb of Audincourt, an industrial town in the Doubs (East France), construction of the new Sacré-Cœur Church was entrusted to the architect Maurice Novarina. For this sanctuary comprising a vast vaulted nave, Abbot Prenel and Reverend Father Couturier drew inspiration from Assy by turning this time to Léger for the creation of 17 stained-glass windows on the theme of the Passion. On the 17 sketches, the painter planned all of the glass panel cut-outs so that the master glazier Jean-Barillet could make the windows in his studio – replacing lead with a concrete framework. The results are breathtaking: placed in a ring, the stained-glass windows envelope the nave with coloured light and imbue the building with monumental strength. Léger chose the instruments of the Passion as motifs – ciboria, chains, lances, the tree of life, crosses and Peace – which he emphasises through symbolic colours: red for violence, green for hope, white for mourning, yellow for faith and blue for life.