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Joseph Légaré, Cholera Plague, c.1832 and Melvin Charney, A History, the Treasure of Trois-Rivières, 1975

Almost one and a half centuries separate these two works, and yet, these two artists created their work with the same objective in mind: to focus on a dramatic event experienced by a part of the working class population.

In his work, Joseph Légaré depics the cholera that struck Quebec City in 1832, where it would claim the lives of 3,451 people. As for Melvin Charney, he condemns the non-conservation of the working-class home as a legacy and thus, the non-preservation of the collective memory conveyed by the houses built by their owners. Their destruction results in a loss of collective identity. In both works, the religious dimension is there but is interpreted differently in each work.

In Joseph Légaré's work, the presence of the cathedral and a priest, in the background to the left, underscores one of the Church's traditional roles, that is, to prepare souls for eternal rest. Indirectly, their presence emphasizes the power of religion over the population. Nevertheless, in Melvin Charney's work, a religious presence conveys a different meaning. In the foreground, a wine-coloured cross adorns the house facade. In it, the artist sees the image of a classic temple that gives the house an atypical character.