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Painting

LE SAC DE LYON PAR LES CALVINISTES EN 1562

THE RANSACKING OF LYON BY THE CALVINISTS IN 1562

Room 6, Image of the city during the Renaissance, Inv. N 3819

Le Sac de Lyon par les calvinistes en 1562, also known as the Sac du Baron des Adrets, is an oil on wood painting. It dates from the second half of the 16th century, i.e. shortly after the event shown.

In Lyon, the Calvinist Reform met with a particularly favourable response. The first reformed church of Lyons was built in 1546 and by 1560, a third of the population had been converted to Protestantism.

During the first religious war, the Protestants, under the command of Baron des Adrets, took over the Hôtel de ville (town hall) and key centres in the city during the night of 29 to 30 April 1562. They went on to occupy the place du Change and rue Saint-Jean. To combat the cult of religious images, all pictures portraying the Divine were destroyed.

Who painted this picture? An unknown

For a long time this picture was attributed to the work of painter Antoine Caron (1521-1599). In 1566, this artist painted a canvas with similar points, essentially an architectural perspective based on similar buildings and a circular church. It was called the “Massacres du Triumvirat” (Massacres of the Triumvirate).

The inscriptions at the top and bottom of the picture confirm that this scene occurred in Lyon : The picture of Lyons in ruins signifies that Calvin’s impious dogma was strengthened by theft and blood. Whilst Calvin was destroying the sacred rights of Lyons, such an image of churches and of the city actually existed.

The virulence of the persecutions described in these inscriptions contrasts with scene shown in the picture – a non-violent act of iconoclasm. The accusation is therefore underlying.

See the detailed sheet