After LIGIER RICHIER – Flayed Man

After LIGIER RICHIER (1500-1567)

Flayed Man


Brown patinated bronze sculpture, traces of oxidation

Lost wax casting, circa 1970

Founder’s mark « C. Valsuani », no justification of cast


Height :  213 cm




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Ligier Richier was born the year 1500 in Saint-Mihiel and died in Geneva sixty-seven years later. He was a sculptor operating during the Renaissance in the Lorraine region. Close to the Lorrain court and to Bar, he realised in 1545 a funerary monument, a Cadaver tomb, located near René de Chalon’s tomb in the collégiale Saint-Maxe.


René de Chalon’s Cadaver tomb, also known as the Skeleton or the Flayed man is a funerary sculpture made around 1545-1547 from a particular limestone coming from Sorcy. Since 1790 the sculpture is no longer hosted inside the collégiale Saint-Max but can nowadays be seen in Saint-Etienne church (Bar-le-Duc, Meuse).


Shattered into pieces by a soldier during the Revolution the sculpture is finally restored in 1810. Two casts are made, one in 1894 for the Palais du Trocadéro and another one in 1922 for the poet Henri Bataille. Subsequent castings followed.


This Cadaver tomb, standing upright as a living person, is carved to ornate René de Chalon’s tomb in Bar. This prince of Orange had found death on July 15th 1544 during Saint-Dizier siege.


Allegedly, on his death bead, de Chalon had asked to be depicted as he would have looked like three years after his death. François I de Lorraine, brother of Anne de Lorraine, René de Chalon’s wife, would have ordered Ligier Richier to produce this Cadaver tomb. We know today this is but a legend.


As a major work from the artist’s corpus but also from the Renaissance period altogether the Cadaver tomb has produced many responses during the centuries and inspired many subsequent works.