In the south of the Nivernais, the small commune of Ternant has two exceptional religious masterpieces hidden at the foot of the Morvan and classified as "Historic Monuments" since 1881.
The Triptychs of Ternant located in the church of Saint Roch are two superb triptych altarpieces dating from the 15th century. They are decorated with a multitude of minute details, these remarkable works are made of painted and gilded carved wood and come from Flemish and Brabant workshops. The altarpiece of the Virgin Mary illustrates seven episodes from the life of the Virgin Mary, and the altarpiece of the Passion represents different scenes from the Passion of Christ. The church of Ternant is a must for all lovers of sacred art!
The two triptychs or altarpieces in the parish church of Ternant are the work of Baron Philippe de Ternant, chamberlain to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and later his son, Charles de Ternant.
The parish church of Saint-Roch was built in 1820 with materials from the demolition of the former collegiate church of Notre-Dame founded in 1444. The priceless treasure of two magnificent triptychs dating from the 15th century, these masterpieces of Flemish art are both listed as historical monuments.
The altarpiece of the Virgin (height 1.58 m, width 3.15 m), was commissioned by Philippe de Ternant, chamberlain of Philippe le Bon, Duke of Burgundy, Knight of the Golden Fleece, and by his wife Isabeau de Roye.
It was made between 1444 and 1454, the date of Philippe de Ternant's death. The central panel, in carved, painted and gilded wood, represents the episodes of the Dormition of the Virgin. The oil-painted flaps depict other scenes from the life of Our Lady. At the ends, the donors are kneeling before an altar, on the left Philippe de Ternant accompanied by John the Baptist, on the right Isabeau de Roye with Saint Catherine. Philippe de Ternant, wearing the chequered coat of arms, and his wife Isabeau in full regalia are also shown.
The Passion altarpiece (height 2.38 m, length 5.45 m) was commissioned by Charles de Ternant, son of Philippe, companion of Charles the Fearless. It was made in a Brabant workshop in 1460 and was intended to adorn the high altar of the new church in Ternant. It consists of a central panel, made of carved, painted and gilded wood, and wooden shutters painted in oil. It represents the different scenes of the Passion and the Glorification of Christ. In the large triptych, dedicated to the Passion, Charles de Ternant and his wife Jeanne are depicted kneeling.