Trésor du Saint-Sépulcre
The relics of the Holy Cross (wood) and the Passion (nails, sponge, shroud) were spread all around Christianity: during the middle ages relics were the objects of a very fruitful business - the commando operation for example carried out by the monks of Conques to get a hold of the shrine of Sainte-Foy has remained famous. What is less known, and was illustrated in the exhibition at Versailles and in the house of Chateaubriand (between April and July 2013) is the contrary movement, by which exceptional items were taken to the Holy Land to enrich the treasure of the Saint Sepulchre. Vestments sewn with gold thread from Milano, a Spanish thurible in hammered silver, an ewer in silver gold from Augsbourg, an enamel stick from Limoges from the XIIth century … The pieces shown at the time showed the extraordinary treasure held by the Franciscan Custody in Jerusalem, the fruit of donations by kings, prelates or rich individuals. It is sometimes the memory of a long-gone magnificence: without these presents, we would know much less about French silversmiths as so many of its masterpieces have disappeared, sacrificed to the financing of wars by Louis XIV or to the revolutionary iconoclasm.
Review published in the newsletter #327 - from 19 December 2013 to 8 January 2014