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"The Treasury of the Sainte Chapelle"
2001-06-01 until 2001-08-27
Louvre Museum
Paris, , FR

The objects in the treasury of the Ste Chapelle were assembled by King Louis IX (otherwise known as St Louis) from 1239 onwards around important relics relative to Christ's Passion from the Imperial treasury of Constantinople, which fell to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It thus unites both Byzantine and medieval works which are regarded as some of the greatest masterpieces of the Middle Ages. All the surviving works from this treasury will be on view in the exhibition.

First of all, the relics and reliquaries from the Imperial Byzantine palaces (including the famous Great Cameo of France, the largest and most beautiful ancient cameo). Followed by bookbindings, reliquaries and illuminated manuscripts, which testify to the creation of the treasury around these relics during the reign of Louis IX. From Philip the Fair to the 18th century, silk mitres, manuscripts, ivories, carved or enamelled altarpieces enriched the collection, demonstrating how the treasury continued to arouse interest. Lastly, the dispersion and fate of the relics after the French Revolution will be recalled in the exhibit based on the two spectacular reliquaries of the Crown of Thorns.

Following the successful exhibition of objects from the treasury of the Abbey of St Denis, held at the Louvre in 1991, this is one of the most prestigious medieval collections ever to be shown to the public. Exhibition curators: Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, Jannick Durand, from the Department of Decorative Arts.


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