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The Fleury Tableau From Sauniere's Mary Magdalene Church in Rennes-le-Chateau

There is much to learn from this highly detailed Tableau, but for now we will concentrate on just a few details. The Fleury Tableau, depicting the Sermon on the Mount, is the largest single piece of artwork in the church and is a three dimensional Fresco. Consisting of twelve figures, most of which are female which is an oddity as most bible references portray this scene with mostly all men.

The Fleury Tableau above the Confessinal in the Church at Rennes-le-Chateau

The Fleury Tableau above the Confessional in the Church at Rennes-le-Chateau

All the figures have gold hems on their garments.

The two young boys, top left, wearing Victorian clothes is just one of the many unusual aspects of this scene. Sauniere and his brother Alfred as boys, perhaps.

Sauniere and his brother Alfred as boys, perhaps

The mount here is believed by many to depict a hill or mountain found near Rennes-le-Chateau. The scene depicted here is taken from the Bible. The people have come to be cured of their ailments by Jesus. But if we replace Jesus with Sauniere, then the people on the hill become us, those looking for his treasure or secret. The expression and mannerisms of Jesus' or perhaps Sauniere's, posture could then be saying, 'well here are the clues - find them and you will be cured of your poverty.' We know the angle of Christ’s head was important to Sauniere as he made the workmen redo it more than once until he was satisfied with the result. Could it be because Sauniere wanted Jesus to stare directly at the Statue of mary magdalene, or past her in the direction of a location situated outside the church? Or perhaps both?

Could the sack of gold included in the Fleury Tableau, represent the position of the secret Sauniere discovered - a cave on the depicted hillside perhaps?

Fleury Tableau Bag of Gold

Bag of Gold Nuggets, not coins or bread as some have thought.

The bag in the Tableau photo above and shown larger here, in relation to the people, is huge.
Sauniere has also positioned it centre stage. These two details alone point to its importance to Sauniere.

The position of the wording underneath the Tableau has been altered at one time. You can still see its original position as shown on the inscription from the right-hand side of the Tableau.

wording underneath the Fleury Tableau

Probably just to keep VENEZ A MOI central, but maybe for another reason. A clue to his mystery perhaps? It is further evidence of Sauniere having details re-done if they were not to his liking.

Right Hand Fleury Painting details

I have filled in the missing part of the fallen pillar to form a completed view, enabling the pillar’s design to be more easily visualised and make for a more accurate comparison.

The fallen ornate pillar or column in the foreground is, by some Rennes-le-Château researchers, commonly associated with with three events:

1 - The destruction of Holy Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans.

2 - The sacking of Rome when the Holy Treasure of Jerusalem was taken by the Visigoths.
3 - The Visigothic altar column that supposedly started Sauniere on his journey to fame and fortune.
4 - The church Baluster.

All three are equally of value to us interested in the mystery, as they are all linked to a treasure of some kind.

Unfortunately options 1 & 2 are impossible to prove or disprove at this moment in time. Option 3 however is easily decided. By comparing the stone Visigothic Altar support from Sauniere's church with the pillar top from the painting, we can see there is no similarity. Read Visigothic Altar Article

Option 4 - Saunière's Baluster.  The wooden baluster (support post) is one of the objects linked to the beginning of the 'Rennes-le-Chateau Mystery' as a possible location for the parchments Saunière is said to have found. The story goes that the bell ringer found a glass vial containing a small rolled up piece of parchment, fallen from a secret compartment in the Baluster. He handed this over to the priest Sauniere and never saw it again.

Antoine, the bell-ringer, used to recount this story to his grandson, also named Antoine Captier, ending with, “and it is thanks to me that the priest became rich!” Perhaps fittingly, the present day Antoine now has ownership of the wooden baluster. I was lucky enough to meet with Antoine and his wife Clair, who kindly let me view and photograph the Baluster, and for this I am grateful. Read Full wooden Baluster Article

Top of Sauniere's Pulpit Baluster

As you can see there is a remarkable similarity between the Pulpit post and the image in the Fleury Tableau. The thin diagonal piece of wood seen running from the top to the bottom is the access panel to the secret compartment. It is now firmly glued in place. If Sauniere did, as I believe, come into posession via the bell ringer, of a small document that he used in some way to become wealthy, perhaps this is why he included it in the tableau and kept the post in his Tour Magdala library, to remind him of the object that changed his life. The baluster obviously held some importance to him as unlike the rest of the pulpit which was disposed of, the baluster he kept!

Sauniere's Baluster or Pulpit Support Post

The complete Baluster.

Some have suggested the stones in these paintings are representations of local landmarks. The stone seen bottom right has been said by some to represent a rock called the Bread stone in Rennes-les-Bains, a few kilometres from Rennes-le-Chateau, as one example. But they are wrong, the stone detail depicted here represents a landmark much closer to Rennes-le-Chateau.

Just who is this lone figure Sauniere has included here? Could it be the priest himself or perhaps even Boudet. It could also Marie Dénarnaud, Sauniere’s faithful housekeeper and lifelong friend.

Whatever the identity of this person is, they are holding something which looks like an umbrella, how strange. It could also be a badly painted walking stick. The figure is staring intensely at a bush. It, like some the other details in the church, must have been added for a good reason. Figure Research Here

The figure is looking at the singular bush growing in this landscape. Is it a clue? A landmark? Or nothing more than artistic decoration?

Is the purpose of the group of buildings painted here to be identified as locations in the Rennes-le-Chateau area?

Clues to Sauniere's Secret?

To the left of the unknown figure are some painted marks. At first glance I thought it was simply grass, but with no other similar grass in the left or right sides of the tableau, I took a closer look. It could just be my imagination but if you look at this picture the marks seem to be indistinct letters and once could have formed a word. Faded with age or covered in dust and grime, like much of the tableau, the word, if that’s what it is, cannot be made out clearly. With all that has happened at Rennes-le-Chateau over the years, it is possible that if this was a word, and so a clue, it has since been made illegible by someone. The letters could be an R something YLH or II, which makes no sense but, as previously stated, they are the only single blades of grass painted anywhere on the two sides of the Tableau, why? They are also by the only figure that appears on the left and right paintings and by one of the only two bushes that appear in both. This little scene could be hiding more details. The two bushes have not been painted in the same amount of detail. The bush on this right side is so dissimilar it looks as if someone has purposely dabbed on blobs of paint to cover something up, if so what? Maybe what the figure is looking at originally wasn't a bush at all but a cave. hole in the ground or some other landmark.

Notice the dissimilarity of this singular bush to the one in the right-hand side of the tableau, also how better detailed this one is.

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1st February, 2007

A very interesting article 'The Rock of the Magdalene' by Corjan de Raaf and Andrew Gough, who examine the Magdalene, a strangely overlooked rock. Included in the article is an examination of certain paintings, one of which is by the Dutch Master Jan van Scorel who appears to have hidden a number of secrets in his painting of 'Mary Magdalene'. What is of interest to me is that this painting also features a solitary figure in the landscape that bears more that a passing resemblance to Sauniere's unknown figure in the Tableau.


Mary Magdalene Painting and the Person from its landscape compared to Sauniere's lone figure.

Related Internal Article Links

Saunière's Fleury Tableau - an in-depth look at its details

Rennes-le-Chateau Church Altar Pillar

Related External Article Links

Painting Link - Mary Magdalene - Year - c. 1530 - Artist:  Jan van Scorel (Size of this image is 1600 x 1396 so loading time might be high)

Connected or Coincidence? Read the full article about The Rock of the Magdalene

For more information on Sauniere's Baluster click HERE to visit the Société Perillos website and view the article posted 26th January, 2007

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