Treasure of Saint-Chapelle come to Museums of the Kremlin and Kremlin Museums – to Paris and Versailles

St. Louis and relics of the Sainte Chapelle

On 18 January 2017 at the residence of the Ambassador of the French Republic an agreement about the awesome event was signed – thanks to the generous financial support of the company “Gazprom” and its French colleagues “Engie” here comes many art works of medieval France – masterpieces of the Saint-Chapelle. From 03 March to 04 June 2017 the One-pillar chamber of the Patriarch Palace of the Moscow Kremlin Museums will host the exhibition “Saint Louis and the relics of Saint-Chapelle”.

Anyone who has been in Paris, bears in her heart the memory of original, unique and gorgeous in the details Church of the thirteenth century named Saint-Chapelle (in the literal translation of “Holy chapel / chapel”). It is one of the oldest examples of French Gothics and the part of the former Royal Palace on the île de La Cité in Paris. It was what we call house Church.

Gothic is an artistic style of the European Christian Middle Ages, originating from the name of the Germanic tribe “the Goths”, created on the basis of the Romanesque style. A key architectural type of the era is the city’s Cathedral, which has a pronounced frame system with pointed arches and tracery towers towards the heavens, and variegated stained glass. For the gothic interior curved sculpture and complex ornament are used.

The exhibition is planned to show the audience the objects of the Catholic cult of different historical periods (the Crown is the reliquary, a Casket with the image of Christ in glory, crucifixion and saints-called the XIII century Reliquary of the crown of thorns 1806), the famous stained glass windows of Saint-Chapelle, sculpture of the Madonna and child of late XIII-XIV century and Louis Holy and precious icon keepers, sacred manuscripts and chronicle books. Part of the exhibits is Russian, Limoges enamels and ivory exhibits are from the State Hermitage Museum. Many of the works will be shown for the first time in our country: the stained glass, the exhibits of the Louvre, the Cluny manuscripts of the National library of France.

The exhibition is of political, aesthetic and cultural significance, but also have historical meaning. It will also tell about the period of the highest flourishing of Christian thought in France, headed by the French monarch Louis IX, for their deeds and piety canonized.

Louis IX (1226-1270) – fr. Saint-Louis, was the French monarch, who declared “Christians” governance: the peace as the Foundation of its foreign and domestic policy. He took and purchased the Holy gifts. The king was organizer and the participant of the VII and VIII long Crusades against the infidels (the Egyptians and Tunisians). He was captured during the first, and died of the plague during the second year. In domestic politics he strengthen the centralization, punished nobles for the mistreatment of the peasants. Also he built hospitals, monasteries and churches and did a lot of charity work.

Some subjects are directly connected with the famous Crusades of the king, which resulted transfer to France of more than 20 Holy gifts, including a crown of thorns. The arrival of the latest gift St. Louis met himself in a rough shirt and followed it to the Church. The chapel was conceived as a repository for gifts, or reliquary. During the godless French revolution, the chapel suffered, its treasures were destroyed (melted, etc) or went to different places of storage, and in the chapel were formed the secular institutions (the archive, the club). Today the Holy gifts are kept in the famous Notre Dame Cathedral (Notre-Dame de Paris).

In response to the question of cultural and political magazine “E-Vesti” about the possibility of a return exhibition for the French people, General Director of Moscow Kremlin Museums Elena Gagarina told the following: “Exhibition exchange is a very complex process, which not only requires a lot of time to prepare, but also to have a certain topic that would be interesting to our French colleagues, and to us. We told them that we would be ready to show our Foundation in Paris at the exhibition, which would show some of the collections of the Museums of the Moscow Kremlin, but the specific projects we have not discussed yet. I think this kind of talk is ahead.

A few days ago we received an offer from our French colleagues to take part in the exhibition dedicated to Alexander III, to the eponymous bridge, which was built in Paris. Its anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2020 (the Alexander III Bridge, opposite the Invalides, Pont Alexandre III – approx. ed.). Therefore, most likely, we will participate in this exhibition and will participate in the exhibition organized in Versailles in connection with the anniversary of the journey of Peter to France.»