La Vierge de Chauffour-les-Bailly

Certains me font rougir en me disant que je suis la plus belle de ces jeunes vierges de pierre que les artistes champenois, encore tellement " gothiques ", ont multiplié au début du 16e siècle !

En toute modestie, c'est vrai que je suis belle, une reine précieusement couronnée. Le sculpteur s'est appliqué pour prouver qu'il était un virtuose - mesurez la légèreté et la souplesse du lange dans lequel je tiens l'enfant Jésus - et cependant ne pas détourner l'attention de l'essentiel : j'offre mon fils au monde, je vous le tends, il vous regarde en souriant, oui, le vide s'ouvre devant lui, il pourrait basculer, le vertige de son destin et de son sacrifice à venir éclate dans ce grand pli plat de mon manteau, là, devant … mais non, je le retiens un instant, le temps est encore au rire, à la jeunesse, à l'insouciance de l'enfance. Les soucis viendront toujours assez tôt.

M. H. 18-02-1908

Virgin Mary Chauffour-les-Bailly

People have made me blush by saying that I am the most beautiful of those young virgins in stone that the artists from the Champagne region, still very «Gothic», made many of at the beginning of the C16th!
In all modesty, it is true that I am beautiful. Nothing is banal or rigid. I am a very young mother; my queen's crown is precious but slightly tilted back, to the point we’re afraid it might fall off. The sculptor has succeeded, better than elsewhere; to use the sweetness of my features and the seriousness of my attitude to make perceptible everything that separates my young age from the gravity of my state. Yes, he strived to prove that he was at the same time a man of faith and a virtuoso - notice the lightness and the suppleness of the swaddling clothes in which I am holding the Jesus - and not forgetting the essential: I am offering my son to the world, I am offering him to you, he is looking at you and smiling. But, I can quickly guess your concern, the void opens up before him, he isn’t well balanced, and he could topple. Has he already understood the weight of his destiny? Certainly his sacrifice to come already explodes in this flat and nearly insane fold in my cloak, there, before that holds the light and suspends time * but no, my hand is clenching my baby's waist, he won't fall, not yet; let the time of laughter, of childish insouciance flow quietly, it is so short.

MR. H. 18-02-1908