Special Protection from Heaven
The Decor of the Church of Saint-Joachim and the Tribulations of the Roman Catholic Church in Early Nineteenth-Century Quebec
The church of Saint-Joachim in the Côte-de-Beaupré region near Quebec City is considered a major work in the history of Quebec religious architecture. Its interior decor – produced by François and Thomas Baillairgé between 1816 and 1829 – is unanimously recognized as a turning point in the history of Quebec art. For the first time, the many elements of a church interior were conceived as an ensemble rather than separate entities as was the usual practice during the French Regime. This search for a unified decor, characteristic of the work of the Baillairgés and their disciples, has already been emphasized by most historians because it had a widespread influence on Quebec religious architecture during the first half of the nineteenth century. This article demonstrates however that this unity is only a relative one, masking in fact the real socio-cultural tensions at play in the parish of Saint Joachim.