Saint Jacques interceding through the Virgin on Behalf of the Souls in Purgatory
Executed in 1752, this is a preparatory sketch for the altar painting in the church of Notre-Dame du Rosaire in Lambesc.
On a bed of clouds, the Virgin, with the infant Jesus in her arms, listens to the pleadings of Saint Jacques and two bishops. Below to the right, the faces of the souls in purgatory appear in the red glow of the inferno. In this almost pyramidal composition, Dandré-Bardon uses the device of the unbalanced structure so popular with painters in the Counter-Reformation. Whereas the smooth impasto of the oil paint liberally models the folds in the fabrics, the dynamic of the curves and counter-curves, emphasised by the unbalanced bodies and reinforced with a strong Venetian colour combination (blue-orange-pink), all link Dandré-Bardon’s art to international Rococo, and in particular to the Austrian painter Maulbertsch.