A unique and unparalleled collection of documents gathered within what constitutes a neo-Gothic and romantic «treasure», the reliquary chest of Heloïse and Abelard is representative of historicist taste and memorabilia nineteenthe century.
It illustrates the myth established around Heloïse and Abelard, from their abundant correspondence, symbol of courteous love in the XIIe century, which Alexandre Lenoir helped to constitute, after the rediscovery of their writings in modern times. Alexandre Lenoir assembled the elements to form this reliquary to be offered in 1817 to Countess Dumont de Frainays, famous for her very rich collections, and the chest was sold as part of her estate in 1861.
Documentary collection offering elements likely to renew the current state of knowledge concerning Alexandre Lenoir and the Musée des monuments français that he created in the former convent of Petits-Augustins and including the École des Beaux-AugustinsArts is the heir, this reliquary is a remarkable opportunity to enrich the collections of this prestigious school and represents a way to reconnect with the Museum of Lenoir, by integrating a particularly emblematic and symbolic piece, from a material and intangible point of view, for the French heritage, for the artistic imagination and for the history of museography. This acquisition is also part of the continuation of the acquisition in 2017 of the appellation «musée de France» for all the rich collections of the Beaux-Arts of Paris.
The designation of the reliquary of Héloïse et Abélard as a cultural property of major heritage interest by the National Treasures Advisory Commission made it possible to solicit the contribution of a company to the financing of its acquisition, by the use of the tax provisions of Article 238 bis-0 A of the General Tax Code. Françoise Nyssen would like to thank the luxury group Kering for its sponsorship of the enrichment of public collections and more widely of the national heritage.
The reliquary chest of Héloïse and Abélard will be exceptionally presented to the public, for the first time in its history, in the chapel of the former Laennec hospital, at 40 rue de Sèvres, in the 7e Paris district, during the European Heritage Days, on 15 and 16 September 2018.