The Sculpted VillageFrançois Michaud (1810-1890)
Fransèches, Limousin, 23480, France
Open to the public from February through November
About the Artist/Site
Masgot, a small village in the Creuse region of southwestern France, has the distinction of having been adorned by remarkable granite sculptures representing a variety of figures and animals. Sculpted in the 19th century, these unusual creations, displayed in what appears to be their own living spaces, are the work of the peasant carver Michaud. Yet despite the impressive quality of these works, Michaud left little trace beyond these sculptures. Nevertheless, through his work, one can deduce his political and religious convictions, as well as his love of nature. This solitary self-taught carver, son of a migrant mason, chose to stay in his own village, resisting the siren call of Paris that swept away so many of his neighbors in a massive rural exodus.
After 1985, some forty of the sculptures and carved works were restored. Among those viewable to visitors are a Napoleonic eagle, Jules Grévy – President of the French Third Republic – along with Marianne – an allegorical figure who became the very symbol of the French republic, but also a mermaid, a female nude, and a fantasy work. Michaud’s birthplace also remains on the site. The art environment is being maintained and cared for by a Friends group, “Les Amis de la Pierre de Masgot;” it is open to the public from February through November.
~Sophie Lepetit and Laurent Danchin
Translated by Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
Fransèches, Limousin, 23480 fr
Latitude/Longitude: 46.036583 / 2.034786
Raveau, Bourgogne Franche-Comté