Charity and Sponsorship

3 March 2017

“Saint Louis and the Holy Relics of Sainte-Chapelle” at the Kremlin

Людовик Святой и реликвии Сент-Шапель

Saint Louis and Relics of the Sainte-Chapelle

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On 02 March 2017, the One-Pillar Chamber of Patriarch’s Palace at the Moscow Kremlin Museums hosted the official opening of a unique exhibition of medieval artwork from the collections of the Louvre Museum and the National Museum of the Middle Ages — “Saint Louis and the Holy Relics of Sainte-Chapelle.” The exhibition was organized by the Museum of the Moscow Kremlin and the National Monuments Center (France), with the support of the Embassy of France in Russia. The general partners of the project are Gazprom PJSC and the French company ENGIE, with additional support from project partner Gazprom Export LLC.

The exposition features artefacts relating the life, exploits and legacy of King Louis IX of France (1214-1270), who is known as a participant in the Crusades, defender of the Holy Land, builder of cathedrals and patron of the sciences and the arts. It is precisely his reign which marked the zenith of Gothic art in France, one of the architectural gems of which is the Holy Chapel or Sainte-Chapelle, erected to house a collection of holy relics on the grounds of the former Royal Palace on Île de la Cité in Paris. Sainte-Chapelle was conceived of as a repository for more than 20 holy relics from Constantinople, brought back to France during the Crusades. Among them — fragments of the Holy Cross, a stone from the Holy Sepulchre and Christ’s Crown of Thorns.

The Moscow exhibition showcases fragments of twelve stained-glass windows from Sainte-Chapelle. The windows, on display for the first time in their entire history beyond the confines of a French museum, depict such subjects as the Book of Kings, Exodus, Genesis, and others. The public is also invited to view a reliquary crown of thorns from the 19th century, in which the genuine artefact was kept for more than 50 years.

The official opening ceremony was attended by Sergey Ivanov — Special Presidential Representative and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, Olga Golodets — Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Medinsky — Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Jean-Maurice Ripert — Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Russia, Alexey Miller — Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and Gerard Mestrallet — Chairman of the Board of Directors of ENGIE Group.

“Cooperation between ENGIE and Gazprom extends beyond the industrial-commercial realm, encompassing such fields as scientific research and culture through support for such endeavors as exhibitions devoted to French and Russian culture. For more than 20 years now, the ENGIE Foundation has been making its own contribution to the preservation of priceless stained-glass windows in dozens of historical landmarks all throughout France, including at Sainte-Chapelle,” said Gerard Mestrallet.

For his part, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee Alexey Miller noted that Gazprom traditionally supports such major international cultural projects. “This exhibition of the most towering achievements of French medieval culture that we’re opening today represents a truly-historic milestone for Russia and France. It is sure to help strengthen mutual understanding and friendly relations between our two peoples.”

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