Saturday, February 22, 2014

La Belle Cordière in Glass

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this beautiful stained glass portrait of Louise Labé, the Lyonnaise poet whose Oeuvres appeared in 1555! The panel was created by Lucien Bégule, a nineteenth century painter of stained glass who became one of Lyon's premier artists. Bégule specialized in both profane and religious windows; his glassworks on the heights of Saint-Just overlooking the city produced vitraux that decorate churches throughout France and appear in distant locations like Lausanne, Nagasaki, Cairo, and Rio de Janeiro.

Bégule's portrait of La Belle Cordière captures the Louise of Pierre Woeiriot's contemporary 1555 engraving.

The panel's design was inspired by Le Printemps, a window created in 1894 by Art nouveau designer Eugène Grasset.

Bégule met Grasset in Paris in 1885 and introduced him to the art of stained glass. The two men became close collaborators. Their representation of St. George killing the dragon won a silver medal at the 1889 Exposition universelle in Paris. The stunning Labé window, a beautiful tribute to one of Lyon's most well-known literary figures, won a gold medal at the 1900 Exposition universelle.

Bégule's window is on display in the Musée Gadagne, the history museum housed in a Renaissance edifice in the heart of Old Lyon. You can view more of Bégule's beautiful creations at this website devoted to his work.

I'm so entranced with the Belle Cordière window I've plastered it on my desktop! I wrote about Louise, the inspiration behind my first novel, here. I'm happy to have such a lovely representation of my literary heroine close at hand to inspire me.

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