Marshal Foch's tomb in Les Invalides

Marshal Foch's tomb in Les Invalides

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Title: Tomb of Marshal Foch.

Author : LANDOWSKI Paul (1875 - 1961)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: bronze, cast iron (alloy).

Storage location: Hotel des Invalides website

Contact copyright: © ADAGP © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Caroline Rose

Picture reference: 06-505721

Tomb of Marshal Foch.

© ADAGP Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Caroline Rose

Publication date: September 2008

Doctorate in Art History

Historical context

The motherland in mourning

The death of Marshal Foch concludes part of the history of the First World War. Raised in the Saint-Ambroise chapel, his tomb next to those of other commanders-in-chief of the First World War: Lyautey, Nivelle and Mangin. Object of contemplation, the tomb of Ferdinand Foch is a testimony to the heroic stature of the military figure and Marshal of France.

Image Analysis

A historic tomb

The tomb which serves as a showcase for the remains of Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch is the work of Paul Landowski, highly renowned official sculptor of the interwar period, member of the Académie des beaux-arts, and director of the Académie de France in Rome since 1933. Produced in 1937, this funeral and commemorative work belongs to the public statuary dedicated to the great men of the nation. Landowski designed a tomb with a narrative character, which connects the deceased with his story. Realistically, the artist depicted Foch's lifeless body carried by hairy men from the Great War, in a form of secular and military procession that precedes the burial. It is distinguished by its particularly solemn character, evoking both the respect due to the dead and the greatness of the deceased. This sculpture, however, only represents part of the burial. The coffin itself, below, is decorated with battle scenes, a frieze narrative process borrowed from Greco-Roman funerary statuary. This historiated representation distinguishes the tomb of Foch from that of his great friend Marshal Lyautey or even from the more famous one of Napoleon


To illustrious men: the need for homage

The nation, to celebrate its illustrious men, can choose to give their names to avenues, buildings, and to erect a statue or a monument to them. In the years 1920-1930, the great military leaders of the Great War were among the first ranks of the personalities honored by this policy of public homage, very much loved by the IIIe Republic. Heroes and exceptional men, they represent examples to follow and embody the ideals of success. All the talent of a sculptor is undoubtedly to transcribe and evoke the features by which these men distinguished themselves from their contemporaries. There are many statues and monuments erected in memory of Marshal Foch, one of which is in Rethondes, where the armistice was signed. Foch’s tomb, located in the heart of Les Invalides, is of a different nature. It presents itself as both an individual and a national commemoration monument. By choosing a realistic and historical representation, Paul Landowski succeeded in emphasizing the qualities of military rigor and righteousness unanimously recognized in a man of war. Placed in the privileged and exceptional setting of Les Invalides, this tomb cannot properly be considered as a monument to the dead of the Great War, like those erected on national territory in commemoration of the sacrifice of ordinary soldiers on the altar. of the Fatherland. Unlike them, it is not the rallying point for November 11 commemorative ceremonies, such as those held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, under the Arc de Triomphe. Being the marshal's tomb, this funeral sculpture is a homage of national and intimate dimension.

  • War of 14-18
  • Foch (Ferdinand)


Jean AUTINFoch or the triumph of truth Paris, ed. Perrin, 1987. Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, volumes I and II, Paris, Fayard, 2004.

To cite this article

Claire MAINGON, "The tomb of Marshal Foch at Invalides"

Video: Les Invalides, Paris HD