Church A devastating familial loss also preoccupied Sargent as he painted Church. A few months earlier, his niece Rose-Marie had been killed in the shelling of the Paris church of Saint-Gervais. It seems likely that he connected, if only unconsciously, the tragedy of her death with the institution and the particular sort of building in which she died. The Church panel thus became a kind of funerary image for Rose-Marie and, through its association with the shattered sculpture of Church at the Reims cathedral, for Western culture itself. From Sargent’s perspective, Synagogue and Church now contained inextricably personal wartime references.
Church (1999 photo)
The Triumph of Religion