The morning light when entering the choir through the five windows at the back leaves a unique impression of inner peace mingled with transcendance.
Built in the 17th century, the choir is the oldest part of the church and was reserved for the monks. It was integrated in the present building by Ferdinand Delamonce (1733 – 1736) who in the process created a remarkable unity for the entire structure (through the use of vaults, cornices) and was able to overcome the difference in elevation between the choir and the nave by installing the Munet arch, an architectural wonder.
The stalls and wainscoting carved in massive wood of rocaille style, are due to Marc II Chabry and François Vanderheyde. The imposing frame which has sheltered since the 19th century the organ chest, was originally intended for the painting “The Baptism of Christ”, presently located in the chapel of the Fonts.
You will find everywhere in the decoration flowers of lys and the doves which are the two symbols of the Charterhouse, at the origin called “Charterhouse of the Lys Holy Spirit”.
The paintings above the stalls were placed in their current locations in the 19th century and were formerly in other buildings of the Charterhouse.
The lectern is a desk on which were placed the books which were used for religious services.
It is a monumental piece of sculptured wood, dating from the end of the 17th century.
It sums up, in an original way, the theme of the Holy Trinity, with 3 parts representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The eagle, with its wings widely spred, symbolizes the Word coming from God, the Father, sovereign and almighty. The median part with branches emphasize vines and grapes, an allusion to the blood of Christ.
On the base, doves refer to the Holy Spirit, whose name was given to the Charterhouse.
The lectern, photo Philippe Dumont
The stalls were sculpted from 1745 to 1749 in the rocaille style by François Vanderheyde
and Marc II Chabry and it is often not possible to distinguish the hands of the two artists.
The stalls and woodworks of the back of the choir are carved in massive wood in relatively straight lines. The armrests are in the form of an inverted volute, decorated with vine of deeply sculptured foliage. Marc II Chabry designed these sections as well as the bas-reliefs which decorated the top of the doors and which were destroyed during the French Revolution.
Powerful motifs, characteristic of rocaille art, such as dissymmetrical shells and garlands of flowers grab one’s attention at the top and at the bottom of the panels. They are the work of Vanderheyde. They create a line of flight that balances the alternative presence between each panel of doves (still present) and flowers of lys which disappeared with the Revolution.
A cornice in the form of a half circle decorated by short volutes, flowers of lys and angel heads crowns this magnificent work of wood sculpture.
The stalls, photos Refflé, DRAC Lyon
The present organ was built in 1890, erected by the house Merklin and Kuhn in 1944 and restored in 1971 by the Manufature Dunand. It is presently the best “two keyboards” in Lyon.
This organ was conceived to play all the repertories. Though some symphonic plays were conserved, yet above all after restoration, at the French classical organ.
We will notice the frame of the organ a work of François Vanderheide and Marc II Chabry : volutes, shells; goldenclaps cover a dark wainscoting, the pilasters of which in disconnection are surmounted by “putti” (small angels).
Photo Gilles Alonzo
The sky of the apse is decorated with lis flowers and the windows of the choir are supported by the cornice.
Photo Philippe Dumont
Seen from the choir, munet archi s decorated by a bas relief in stucco representing the Eastern lamb.
The lamb which is about to be immolated on the altar of the sacrifice, holds a cross in his legs. Golden beams, clouds and angelots decorate the bas relief.
The photo was taken in March 2004 after the restauration of the sculpture.
Arc Munet seen from Choir, photo Massin, Ville de Lyon
On the side of the choir, in the inferior recesses of the pilla-walls of the arch Munet, there are two big stucco wood angels from the time of Delamonce.
On the left the angel presents the New Testament, on the right the crown of thorns.
Angel presents the right the crown of thorns - Photo Philippe Dumont
Painting “Saint Anthelm resusciating a dead man"
Painting by François Perrier around 1625-1629. In the center, the saint, protector of the Order, clad with the white dress of the Carthusian monks, resuscitates a dead man; on the right side the prostrated figures of the assistants. The painter had executed important works in Lyon, among which a life of Saint Bruno painted on the walls of the little cloister.
photo Pierre Clavel, CRDP Lyon
Painting “Saint Andre conduced to agony”
This painting by Henri Fortier is the very reduced copy, executed between 1640 and 1647 of the big fresco painted by Guido Reni on the walls of a roman church. The Saint in the center, is kneeling and adoring the cross of his torture, visible at the top on the right.
photo Pierre Clavel, CRDP Lyon