As the restoration work on the cathedral enters its final phase, the Louvre Museum is preparing a unique exhibit of the treasures of Notre-Dame de Paris to be on display from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024.
This treasure, which brings together priestly objects and vestments necessary for the celebration of worship, relics and reliquaries, handwritten books as well as other precious objects offered out of piety, will then be placed in the neo-Gothic sacristy of the cathedral, built by John Baptiste Lassus and Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc to shelter them.
With more than 120 works, the exhibition presents the history of this treasure, placing it in its millennial context: from its origins in the Middle Ages to its resurrection in the 19th century and its flourishing with Viollet-le-Duc under the Second Empire.
The first inventories, the preserved collection which opens with the year A.D. 1343, allow us to better understand the treasure and imagine its riches. The donors are kings, queens, princes, bishops, canons, who express their gratitude to the cathedral.
The treasure of Notre-Dame, entirely reconstituted after the Revolution, is famous today for the remarkable relics it houses, in particular those of the Crown of Thorns and the Wood of the Cross which come from the ancient treasure of Sainte-Chapelle and which found asylum at Notre-Dame, under the reign of Napoleon I, in new reliquaries.
The treasure is also famous for the splendor of the masterpieces of French goldsmithing collected in the 19th century.
For the first time, the exhibition offers the opportunity to go back in time and reconnect with the history of the treasure before the Revolution: inventories, historical accounts, paintings, illuminated manuscripts, engravings and other figured documents, but also several works which have come down to us, allowing us, in fact, to partially retrace the long history of the treasure since Merovingian times, and to glimpse this wealth which has partly disappeared, comparable to that of the most dazzling objects created for Notre-Dame in the 19th century.
The Treasure of Notre-Dame de Paris. Origins in Viollet-Le-Duc. From October 18, 2023 to January 29, 2024. Louvre Museum, Galerie Richelieu, Paris. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Tuesday. Late night on Friday until 9:45 p.m. Entrance (museum and exhibition): €17 online; €15 on site.
Exhibition catalogue. Under the direction of Jannic Durand, Anne Dion-Tenenbaum, Florian Meunier and Michèle Bimbenet-Privat. Co-edition Hazan / Musée du Louvre éditions. 336 pages, 170 illustrations, €39.