The Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge, which reopened its doors in May 2022 after several years of renovation work, will be presenting an exhibition devoted to the revival of the arts in France at the time of Charles VII, from 12 March to 16 June 2024, in partnership with the GrandPalaisRmn and with the exceptional collaboration of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
This will be the Musée de Cluny's major exhibition in 2024, staged in the Frigidarium room (remains of the Lutetia baths, 1st-2nd centuries).
Musée de Cluny © Michel Denancé
The reign of Charles VII, from 1420 to 1460, was a pivotal period in the history of art in France and Europe. From the 1430s onwards, the kingdom underwent profound political and artistic changes. While the north of the country was occupied by the English and Burgundians, numerous artistic centres emerged (Anjou, Poitou, Touraine, Berry, Toulousain, etc.). The epic of Joan of Arc and the reconquest undertaken by Charles VII heralded the end of the interminable Hundred Years' War. The conditions were ripe for a revival, with major patrons calling on a new generation of artists.
At the same time, the influence of the Burgundian court led to the spread of its model and the Flemish ars nova. Artistic creation gradually broke away from the international Gothic style and turned towards a new vision of reality, the beginnings of the Renaissance.
Jean Fouquet, ‘‘Charles VII’’, circa 1450-1455, Paris, Musée du Louvre © GrandPalaisRmn (musée du Louvre) / Tony Querrec
The exhibition aims to show the full diversity of artistic production during this reign, and will bring together prestigious illuminated manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' work and tapestries. Among the major works on display, the Musée de Cluny will be welcoming exceptional loans from the Louvre and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and an entire section will be devoted to the work of Jean Fouquet, one of the greatest French painters of the 15th century, whose famous portrait of Charles VII will be on show.
In association with the New York Medieval Society, a partner of the Fondation Etrillard, we will be funding the arrival of some extraordinary and essential pieces from the United States. This support will make it possible to bring together for the first time in France the triptych painted by André d'Ypres for Dreux Budé, secretary to King Charles VII and his wife Jeanne Peschard, around 1450, the central part of which is kept at the Getty Museum, the left panel at the Musée du Louvre and the right panel at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier.
Master of Dreux-Budé (André d'Ypres?), "The Crucifixion", central panel of the Dreux-Budé triptych, c. 1450, Los Angeles, J.Paul Getty Museum © J.Paul Getty Museum
The exhibition is curated by a number of curators from leading national institutions: Mathieu Deldicque, curator and director of the Musée Condé in Chantilly; Maxence Hermant, chief curator and head of 15th and 16th century manuscripts in the Manuscripts Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France; and Sophie Lagabrielle, general curator at the Musée de Cluny, in charge of paintings, stained glass and graphic arts. Séverine Lepape, Director of the Musée de Cluny and General Curator, is the chief curator of the exhibition.
The Foundation is therefore supporting the publication of the exhibition catalogue, an ambitious work that is the fruit of a collective effort, which will help to disseminate the most recent knowledge on the period and continue to fuel research.
Barthélémy d'Eyck, "Book of tournaments", 1460, Paris, BnF, Manuscript Department, © Bibliothèque nationale de France
The exhibition at the Musée de Cluny is part of the Fondation Etrillard's mission to shed light on the Middle Ages, a mission it pursues in the various fields of art and the humanities, both in Switzerland and in France. The Foundation supports concerts, music courses and symposiums (University of Geneva, Royaumont Abbey and Foundation), the restoration of medieval manuscripts and treasures from prestigious collections (Saint Maurice Abbey, Solesmes Abbey) and exhibitions linked to the Middle Ages (Bodmer Foundation, Musée du Louvre).
Recumbent statue Agnès Sorel (detail), 1450, Loches, Saint-Ours collegiate church, © Marine Desfontaine - OT Loches TCL