Biographies of Artists and Personalities

Nicolas-Augustin de la Croix d’Azolette (Proprières 1779, Lyon 1861)
Head of the Roman Catholic seminary of Lyon, he called for the creation of the Society of Priests of Saint-Irénée, called "missionaries of the Carthusian monks" and he became its first leader in 1816.
Vicar of Saint-Bruno from 1817 to 1823, he tried to reassemble the furniture of the church. He installed in 1817 the barriers which are in front of the altars of the side chapels and bought the bells which continue to ring still today.
Named archbishop of Auch in 1840, he finished his life in a cell of the cloister of the Carthusian monks in Lyon.


Bon Boullogne (Paris 1649-1717)
Author of the painting "Saint-Bruno in the desert" in the sacristy
Professor at the Royal Academy, he worked for Trianon and the churches in Paris. His art is a transition between the 17th century spirit created by Le Brun and the noble art of the 18th century, represented in the church by Tremolières and Brenet. One of his masterpieces can be seen in Lyon: "The Adoration of the three wise men" located in Saint-Just’s church.


Nicolas-Guy Brenet (Paris 1728-1792)
Author of the painting "The pacified storm" in Sainte Philomene’s Chapel
A pupil of François Boucher, Brenet was the renovator of the "grand genre" of historical and virtuous painting in the second part of the 18th century.
In Rome in 1756, he began showing his work at the Paris Salon in 1763 and thereafter never stopped composing great and noble religious paintings for several churches in France; two series of them exist in the region of Lyon: in the church of Saint-Chamond and that of Pont de Vaux, both originating from the Charterhouse of Montmerle.


Saint Bruno (Born in Cologne around 1035, died in Serra San Bruno 1110)
A bright theologian, he trained many disciples at the University of Reims and then embraced monastic life in 1080. In June 1084 he founded the Grande Chartreuse monastery with six companions under the protection of the bishop of Grenoble, Hugues de Chateauneuf. The quest for solitude which he exemplified is in keeping with the movement of monastic renewal of the 11th and 12th centuries. His attempt was undoubtedly inspired by some Italian precedents at the beginning of the 11th century: Camaldoli, Fonte Avellana, Vallombrosa. He was far more successful than his predecessors.
He was called to Rome in 1090 by his former student, Pope Urban II.
He obtained permission to retire in Calabria in 1092 where he founded a Charterhouse and died.
Saint-Bruno did not leave any particular rule for his order. The life that he and his companions lead in the wooden cabins of the first Charterhouse was that of hermits who practiced in common a few liturgies. His disciples decided to adapt the basic principles of the rule of Saint Benedict in the spirit of their founder.
The statutes of the Order were drawn up around 1127 by the fifth Prior of the Charterhouse, Guigue the Venerable.


Marc II Chabry (1660-1727)
Sculptor with François Vanderheyde of the choir stalls and woodwork.
Sculptor, painter and architect, son of a sculptor and painter of the same name, he completed several works in Lyon between 1731 and 1761. Besides his participation in the decoration of the Charterhouse, he is remembered for the basins of Louis-le-Grand square (place Bellecour), mascarons for the facade of City Hall, sculpted decorations for convents in the city, the pulpit of the Barefoot Carmelites convent (presently in the chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu).


Charles Michel-Ange Challe (Paris 1718-1778)
Author of the painting "The wedding of the Virgin" in the chapel of the chairs
A pupil of Boucher, recipient of the "Prix of Rome" in 1741, he stayed in Italy from 1742 to 1749. Author of religious or mythological paintings, landscapes in ruins, he is today more famous for his festive projects and sketches of imaginary monuments, in the spirit of Piranesi.


André Coindre (Lyon 1787, Blois 1826)
Father André Coindre was the founder in 1821 of the Congregation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a congregation intended for the education of young people.
He founded many secondary schools, high schools and institutes.


Ferdinand-Sigismond Delamonce (Munich 1678, Lyon 1753)
Architect of the 18th century St Bruno’s Church as we see it today
Son of an architect, he worked first with his father who died in 1708, then in Italy from 1715 to 1728. He settled in Lyon in 1731.
Supervisor of the construction of the Charterhouse in Lyon from 1733 to 1737, he still produced drawings as late as 1742. He also completed in Avignon the chapel of the Oratorians; in Lyon, the Tolozan House, under Soufflot’s orders, as well as the restoration, enlargement and decoration of several buildings including the choir of the chapel of the Collège de la Trinité (the lycée Ampère today) and the facade of "Saint-Just of the Maccabees" church.


Tony Desjardins (Lyon 1814, Belmont-Ain 1882)
He restored in 1863 the chapel of the Virgin with a decor of stucco, white and gold, which then served as a model for the layout of the neighboring chapels.
In 1848 he was Professor of drawing at the La Martinière School.
From 1848 to 1882, architect of the diocese of Lyon,
From 1854 to 1870, Chief architect of the city of Lyon.
He built, among others, the chapel of the Institution des Chartreux, the Petit Lycée de Saint-Rambert (presently Collège Jean-Perrin), the chapel of Brouilly. He created also the large ballroom of the Lyon City Hall. He built and restored churches and private houses in Lyon, in the departments of Rhone and Loire.


Chloé Du Pasquier (present in Lyon between 1841 et 1868)
Author of the painting "The Adoration of three wise men", after Rubens, in the Saint-Irénée chapel
Painter of still lifes, pastel portraits and genre scenes, Chloé du Pasquier also executed copies of famous paintings for the churches in Lyon. A contemporary example is kept in church Saint-Denis of the Croix-Rousse: an “Entombment" after a Titian of  the Louvre.


Joseph-Hugues Fabisch (Aix-en-Provence 1812, Lyon 1886)
Sculptor of the alabaster statue in the chapel of the Virgin
In 1840 he settled in Saint Etienne, as professor of drawing in the city’s High School.
In 1845 he came to Lyon, first as a teacher and later (1874) as the director of the School of the Fine Arts.
He left us an abundant sculpted work:  the Virgin of the grotto of Lourdes (1865), the most famous of his statues, the Virgin of the bell tower of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (1851), various statues and altars for several churches in Lyon, in Saint-Etienne and neighbouring communities, medallions (those of Louis XIII, Henri IV, Louis XIV and Anne of Austria for the facade of the Lyon City Hall) and various civil portraits.


Cardinal Joseph Fesch (Ajaccio 1763 – Rome 1839)
He repurchased part of the buildings of the Charterhouse after the Revolution, collected scattered works of art, endowed the altar with a large cross and candlesticks, and ordered new church ornaments.
Maternal uncle of Napoleon the 1st, archdeacon in Ajaccio in 1793, Joseph Fesch renounced the priesthood and was named by his nephew commissioner of wars in the army of Italy (1795-1796).
Becoming priest again in 1800, he participated in the negotiation of the Concordat, became archbishop of Lyon in 1802, then cardinal in 1803.
Sent as ambassador to the court of Rome, he obtained that the pope come to crown his nephew. In disagreement with the attitude of Napoleon the 1st towards Pope Pius VII, he was disgraced. He retired to his diocese until 1814 and then to Rome, refusing to resign from his duties as archbishop of Lyon. Very concerned with the re-christianisation of the diocese, he encouraged the founding in 1816 of the Order of Jesus Mary, and of the Society of Priests of Saint-Irénée.


Rodolphe Galli (Viggia -Italy 1840, Lyon 1863)
Sculptor of "Christ lying in a shroud" in the chapel of the Sacred Heart
Little known, this artist also left us with the sculptures of the Argue passageway (in the Presqu’île) in Lyon.


Noël Hallé (Paris 1711 -1781)
Author of the painting "The Baptism of Christ" in the chapel of the Font
Son and grandson of remarkable painters, Grand Prix de Rome in 1736, Hallé stayed in Italy from 1737 to 1744. His career at the Academy and the Gobelins made him a major artist of the 18th century, one of those who combined with harmony and elegance the "great genre" of historical painting and the emotion of the Rococo.


Jean Magnan (Lyon-1569…)
Architect of the Charterhouse of Lyon and of the first church, today the monks’ choir.
We know very little of the life of this painter and architect. Decorator of temporary monuments honoring royalty arriving in Lyon, in particular for Catherine of Médicis in 1579, Henry III in 1562, Marie de Médicis in 1600.
He drew the plans of the Charterhouse of Lyon in 1590 and executed the construction of the church from 1590 to 1603. From 1603, we lose track of his existence.


Melchior Munet (lived in Lyon from 1730 to 1772)
He gave his name to the arch which operates as a bridge between the 17th century choir and the 18th century transept.  
Lyon-born architect, assistant of Delamonce, he worked at Saint Bruno’s church in 1734-1735. He also collaborated in Lyon with Soufflot in the construction of the Hôtel-Dieu and the Saint-Clair district.


François Perrier (Saint-Jean-de-Losne or Mâcon, around 1600, Paris 1650)
Author of the painting "Saint Anthelme resuscitating a dead man ", hanging in the Choir.
His career was divided between Paris, Lyon where he trained and stayed at different times, and Rome, where he was exposed to the Baroque painting of Lanfranco who employed him a lot. He combined large works of classical compositions using leaded colours, with rhythmic breaks. A great 17th century French painter equally at ease in mythological or religious painting as in ceiling decoration.


Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (Paris 1714-1785)
Sculptor of the "evangelists" adorning the pendants of the dome.
Having made the acquaintance of Guillaume Coustou, a famous Lyonnais sculptor,  during his stay in Rome,  he stopped in Lyon when he returned from Rome in 1739. He worked there on several projects in different sites, all of which have disappeared except for the four evangelists from the dome of Saint Bruno. He is one of the most famous French sculptors of the 18th century: he left well-known works, in particular the tomb of the Marshal of Saxony in Saint-Thomas’ Church in Strasbourg and Diderot’s portrait.


Louis-Jean Sainte-Marie Perrin (Lyon 1835-1917 )
Architect of the facade of the Saint-Bruno’s Church (1870-1872)
Perrin studied architecture in Paris. He worked in Lyon beginning in 1869. He was awarded prizes in various architectural competitions. He built several churches in the regions of Lyon and Saint-Etienne, among which those of Saint-Germain-au-Mont- d’Or, Thizy, Saint-Héand, of Chaponost, Sain-Bel and the Great Seminary of Francheville, in addition to chapels, steeples and tombstones.
Appointed deputy architect and, from 1888, director of works for the Fourvière basilica,  of which he designed, among other things, all the interior decoration.


Jacques Sarrazin (Noyon 1588, Paris 1660)
Sculptor of the Saint Bruno and Saint John the Baptist statues moved in the 19th century to the transept
He stayed in Rome from 1610 to 1627. He stopped in Lyon on his return from 1627 to 1629 and worked here for the Charterhouse. Subsequently he settled in the Paris region. He was a friend of Simon Vouet and Le Nôtre.
Sculptor of the King, one of the twelve founders of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1648.
He participated in the decoration of the Clock Pavilion in Paris, of the Château de Maisons. He completed several funeral monuments. Many of his works are exposed today in the Museum of the Louvre.


Jean-Nicolas Servandoni (Florence 1695, Paris 1766)
Servandoni designed the baldachin and the altar of Saint Bruno’s Church.
Student of the Italian painter Panini, he travelled a lot in Europe.
He settled in Paris from 1724 to 1745, where he renewed the decoration of the theatre and the opera by creating machines and revolving screens and became famous for his lavish stagings and the organisation of spectacular festivities. We also owe him the facade the Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris.
First painter-decorator of the Royal Academy of Music from 1728 to 1744, he became a knight of the Order of Saint-John of Lateran in 1733.
Pursued by his creditors, he left France in 1745 to exercise his talents in several European Courts and participated in Lisbon’s reconstruction. He can be considered as a master of the art of illusion so dear to baroque art.


Jacques-Germain Soufflot (Irancy 1713, Paris 1780)
He worked at the Charterhouse of Lyon from 1738 or 1742 until 1750. He directed the entire construction and reshaped the design of the baldachin of Servandoni. He drew the frames for the paintings of Trémolières and the rocaille motifs of the choir.


: stay in Rome


: member of the Academy of Lyon, where he worked from 1739 to 1749


: member of the Royal Academy of Paris


: second stay in Rome, where he accompanied the brother of the Marquise of Pompadour


: worked again in Lyon


: called by the King, he settled in Paris and worked both in Paris and Lyon

Known as the architect of the Pantheon in Paris, he also completed :
– in Lyon, the hotel of Lacroix-Laval, the houses of Rivette and Chateau Bourbon, the facade and the dome of the Hôtel-Dieu, houses in the Saint-Clair district, the Loge du Change (currency exchange) in the Vieux Lyon, the monastery of Génovéfains, the theatre which operated until 1827 on the location of the present Opera;
– in Mâcon, the Hospice de la Charité (Hôtel Soufflot).


Benoît-Antoine Sublet (Lyon 1821, Paris 1897)
Author of the painting "The Apparition of the Sacred Heart to Marguerite-Marie Alacoque"
A catholic painter, he is above all a fresco artist (cathedral of Belley, chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu of Lyon) and author of religious paintings.
Particularly attached to the Cartusian Order, as evidenced by his works at the Institution des Chartreux (frescoes of the choir, Way of the Cross), his "Rapture of Saint Bruno" at the Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble and even his " Martyrdom of the religious under Henry VIII" in the cloister of a Charterhouse in England.
His is one of these 19th century painters who seek to embody their faith on the wall, just like the Italian artists of the first Renaissance.


Claudine Thévenet (1774-1837)
In the Saint Claudine chapel (former chapterhouse meeting room), a plaque commemorates that in this place in 1818, with the help of Father Coindre,  she created what would become the Order of the Religious of Jesus and Mary.
A silk worker, affected by the death of two brothers executed in 1794 and very sensitive to the number of orphans in the City, she decided to devote herself to the education and training of young girls. The Religious of Jesus and Mary is still very active globally with 1,400 nuns around the world, supported by 1,600 lay associates. Claudine Thévenet (in religious Mother Marie of Saint Ignatius) was beatified in 1981 by Pope John Paul II and then canonized in 1993. Her feast is celebrated on February 3rd.


Pierre-Charles Trémolières (Cholet 1703, Paris 1739)
Author of the large Transept paintings "The Ascension of Christ" and " The Assumption of the Virgin"
Trémolières stayed in Rome from 1728 to 1734 where he became a friend of Soufflot, and then moved to Lyon where he married. He painted portraits and religious paintings for the White Penitents and the barefoot Carmelites (paintings at Saint Blandine’s Church). Back in Paris, he executed the two large paintings for the Carthusian monks in Lyon and decorated several hotels before dying prematurely.
His art is characteristic of the best French painters born around 1700: clarity of  colour, subtle simplicity of composition and expressive feeling.


François Vanderheyde (18th century)
Sculptor with Marc II Chabry of the stalls and woodwork of the monks’ choir
He belonged to a true dynasty of Flemish wood-cutting artists, the Van der Heyden. He lived in Lyon where he was still residing in 1788 and he frenchified his name.


Claude Vignon (Tours 1593, Paris 1670)
Author of the painting of Saint Anthony in Saint Claudine’s chapel
Claude Vignon is one of the great painters of the 17th century and one of the most prolific. Very influenced during his stay in Italy by Caravaggio, throughout his entire life he was considered an important decorator, painter of portraits and church paintings, draftsman and engraver.
The painting of Saint Antony is an appealing example of his art, with thick impastos and sparkling colours.
Saint-John’s Cathedral  in Lyon contains one of his masterpieces "The Circumcision". Ancient records mention the presence before 1793 in the refectory of the Charterhouse of a series of paintings by Vignon. We ignore the subjects as these paintings have since disappeared.


Family of Villeroy-Neuville
The remains of this family were transferred to the Sainte-Philomène chapel of the church in 1822.
From this family originated all the military governors of the Lyonnais region from 1608 to the Revolution. The most famous of its representatives was Camille de Neuville (1606-1693), archbishop, count and lieutenant-general of Lyon from 1645 to his death. In 1666 he gave his name (Neuville) to the village of Vimy.