This original creation in varnished terracotta is intended to complete the facade of the church, which was left unfinished at the time it was built, at the beginning of the last century.
It was designed in the spirit of the Florentine Renaissance terracotta bas-reliefs, in particular those by the sculptor Andrea Della Robbia. This artwork, with its refined polychromy, highlights the sobriety of the church's exterior with its contribution of colors.
The main theme, "The Great Commission", taken from Mt 28 16-20, which is very rare for a tympanum, was proposed by the Diocesan Commission of Sacred Art of Meaux, and presents the Risen Christ sending his eleven apostles to evangelize the nations.
This work, as much by its theme as by its material, is unique in France, apart from the enamelled terracotta decorations from the Toulouse region.
Above the tympanum, a statue of St Germanicus of Auxerre, patron saint of the church, was also added.
A small polychrome cross is placed above the right-hand side door and helps to integrate this realization organically into the whole building.
Beyond its visual simplicity, this realization was, in some points, a technical challenge that required a lot of attention.
As its dimensions did not allow the tympanum to be made in a single piece, the whole ensemble was first modeled in its entirety and then, after being cut into thirteen pieces, each of these was moulded in plaster, moulds in which the final pieces were then embossed in clay.
After a natural drying period of two months, a first firing at 950 °C, known as "biscuit" firing, was carried out, then the glazes were delicately applied with a brush and the whole was fired again at 1170 °C.
The niche of the Saint-Germain required the taking of an elastomer mould. From this, an enlarged copy, which took into account the final shrinkage of the clay after firing, of around 7 %, was used to make the elements.
A frost-resistant earthenware compatible with the use of low-temperature glazes was specially adapted by SOLARGIL company.
Tympanum : 2m15 by 1m45 / 7 ft by 4.8 ft
Statue of St Germanicus of Auxerre : 1m00 / 3.3 ft
Late XIXth / early XXth centuries
This late 19th / early 20th century church has had its facade extensively restored by the municipality in recent years, following major structural disorders: the bell tower was gradually becoming detached from the facade.
Following this work, the municipality wished to complete this restoration by creating a tympanum and a statue of St Germanicus, patron saint of the parish. The stone of the tympanum had in fact been left as a reserve for sculpting during the initial construction of the building and had been left uncompleted for more than a century.
It also owes its fame to having served as the setting for Jacques Becker's film Casque d'or, starring Simone Signoret and Serge Reggiani.
The Annet-sur-Marne Tympanum was awarded the Geste d'Argent Prize 2013 and the Loiret County Prize for Arts and Crafts 2013.
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