Sculpture Saturday in Pézenas

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Statue to the 17th century French playwright Moliėre by Jean-Antoine Injalbert

This statue to the great French playwright Moliėre, one of the great comic-writers of all time and described by Stendahl as “Molière, the great painter of man”, is to be found in the town of Pézenas in the Langudoc-Rousillon area of France, where he lived for many years. He had an acting troupe which worked in both Paris and Pézenas and had as patron, the brother of the King, the Duke of Orleans.

He led an extraordinary life and his death became legend; he died on stage, while performing his final play, Le Malade Imaginaire, or rather, he collapsed on stage, and died a few hours later at his home. At that time, the Catholic church in France condemned the theatre as a school for scandal, held all actors to be ipso facto excommunicated, and forbade their burial in consecrated ground – which included every cemetery in Paris. Two priests refused to visit him to administer the sacraments and the third arrived too late.

The white marble statue was sculpted by Jean-Antoine Injalbert in 1897 and it shows the maid Lucette from Moliere’s play Monsieur de Pourceaugnac paying tribute to the master playwright with a goat-footed satyr representing Satire sitting at the bottom of the statue. Masks of the actors Coquelin Cadet and Jeanne Ludwig are on the back of the monument

Moliėre

In 1792 his remains were brought to the Museum of French monuments and in 1817 transferred to Le Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

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