France: Exhibit of Masterpieces from 18th Century Parisian Churches on Display

Source: FSSPX News

An outstanding collection of 18th century religious masterpieces will be available for public view at the Petit Palais in Paris.

The exhibit entitled "Enlightenment Baroque", which opened at the Petit Palais on March 21, 2017, presents a spectacular set of religious paintings executed in the 18th century for the churches in Paris. It includes almost 200 works from the Regency to the Revolution, which have benefited from a restoration campaign, displayed in a setting that suggests the interior of a church with two naves, an ambulatory, chapels and a sacristy.

The visitor enters through a porch and then comes to an enormous baroque nave. Through the arches of the choir he sees an ambulatory and a series of chapels of various colors and decors. From the sacristy with its somber, warm paneling, the visitor makes his way into the ambulatory around the choir of the nave, then into the apse, which leads to a neo-classical nave in a later, severe style with more stone work. The lighting recreates the luminous ambiance of 18th-century churches and projects the brilliance of the stained glass windows in the baroque nave.

A Sad  History of Religious Art in France


The French Revolution emptied the churches of their artworks. Many were destroyed, sold or sent to the museums that were created then. The paintings that were put back into the churches in the early 19th century are rarely in their place of origin, and their attributions have often been lost. Many masterpieces nevertheless have been brought together in the Petit Palais, from museums (Louvre, Versailles, the Museums of Fine Arts in Lyons, Rennes, Marseilles, Brest...), as well as churches and cathedrals (Saint-Denis, Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, Mâcon, Lyons...).

Organized in eight sections, the tour allows the visitor to appreciate the execution of major painted decors, like that of the cupola of the Church of the Invalides, completed in 1707, the refinement of the altarpieces and differences in their styles, the Italian decor of the Foundlings Chapel, episodes from the lives of the saints, and much more.

Exhibition Details


From March 21 to July 16, Petit Palais, Fine Arts Museum of the City of Paris, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8e.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday evenings until 9:00 p.m. Closed on July 14 [French Independence Day].

Full admission: 11 Euros.

(Source: petitpalais – DICI no. 352 dated March 31, 2017)