The Evolution of French Canada

By Jean Charlemagne Bracq | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXII
THE ART OF FRENCH CANADA

ONE of the most striking psychological traits of French Canadians is their general æsthetic sensitiveness and temperament which have served them well during their artistic history, and made them, thereby, open to impressions from all the arts. They brought over with them taste and traditions that Anglo-Canadians never had. With them art was honoured in most churches; missionaries made use of it. The Jesuit, Jean Pierron, taught some of the doctrines of the church to the Red men by means of paintings,1 and, at an early date, it was recognised almost as having an exclusive religious function.2Towards the end of the seventeenth century Quebec Seminary had two or three sculptors in its employ,3 and the pupils of the St. Joachim summer school did well in their sculptural work, though less successful with painting.4 Art played such a part in their religious life that the Ursulines of Quebec had sisters capable of repairing pictures. One of them made a restoration of "The Assumption."5 They also had gifted gilders.6 Bishop de Pontbriand was an expert in embroideries on velvet and silk of ecclesiastical vestments. It was while he attempted to teach a young man the production of these ornaments that he left some important ones of his own to the Quebec cathedral.7

____________________
1
P. G. Roy, Les petites choses de l'histoire, Vol. I, p. 115.
2
Ibid., p. 120.
3
Gosselin, L'Instruction, p. 361.
4
Ibid., p. 363.
5
Les Ursulines de Québec, Vol. IV, p. 460.
6
Ibid., p. 648.
7
Les Ursulines des Trois-Rivières, p. 335.

-387-

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