The martyrdom of Saint Gohard, the work of Nantes' Édouard Jolin and listed as a historic monument, is now being restored by Claire Le Goff and Kiriaki Tsesmeloglou, curators and restorers of paintings.
A testimony of the iconographic renewal of the XIXe century
The Martyrdom of Saint Gohard, also called Assassination of Saint Gohard by the Normans, is a painting by Édouard Jolin, a young painter from Nantes, trained in Paris. Monsignor de Hercé wanted the cathedral to have a representation of the martyrdom of Saint Gohard, bishop of Nantes in the 9th century.e century. The work is in line with several commissions of works made during the XIXe century representing local martyrs. Within this corpus, Jolin’s interpretation is distinguished by its theatrical direction, vividly illustrating the fateful moment.
Initially exhibited in Paris in 1852, the painting of Saint Gohard joined the cathedral of Nantes two years later. He has since decorated the altarpiece of the eponymous chapel.
The dramatic consequences of the 2020 fire.
The painting, close to a fire, was heavily impacted by the disaster of July 18, 2020. High temperatures (up to 800 degrees) and humidity caused by the fire-extinguishing waters were the main factors in the deterioration of the work. The chanci (alteration that opacifies the varnish giving it a whitish appearance) of the varnish, certainly present before the disaster to a lesser extent, has worsened considerably in these circumstances, causing the work to lose all legibility.
In 2022, as part of the clean-up project, all the paintings in the cathedral were deposited and cleaned up in a restoration workshop built in situThe restorers then made detailed state-of-the-art observations of each work. They observed the impressive alterations present on The martyrdom of Saint Gohard : a generalized dust, a migration of varnish, halos of moisture, cracks and a tear (before the disaster).
The restoration of the table was launched in mid-December 2022: tests were carried out to define an intervention protocol and the first results are spectacular. The cleaning and debugging reveal a work of great quality, with particular attention to the richness of textiles. The intervention will allow to rediscover this beautiful work of a local painter.