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Treasures of Paris’ Cluny Museum: Must-See Collections of Medieval Artworks, Part 1 with Dr. Guillaume Durand

Treasures of Paris’ Cluny Museum: Must-See Collections of Medieval Artworks, Part 1 with Dr. Guillaume Durand


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

When we think about great museums of Paris, we immediately think of the Louvre Museum or the Orsay museum. However, one of the most impressive collections of European and Mediterranean Medieval artworks, including the iconic and mysterious "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestry, is housed in the Quartier Latin, in a Late 15th century, Flamboyant Gothic mansion. The Cluny Museum illustrates the three great artistic cultures which flourished around the Mediterranean Sea: Western Christianity in its Late Antique, Romanesque, and Gothic aspects; Byzantine art from Justinian to the 10th century; and Macedonian Renaissance and Islam from the Umayyads to the Hispano-Moresque culture. Displayed through 6,500 square feet, the collection features 2,300 objects (out of the 23,000 artworks the museum owns) covering a span of time from Late Antiquity (5th cent. CE) to the 15th century. The specificity of this museum is to combine and exhibit these three cultures together so as to show how they interacted over centuries through artworks. The Cluny Museum is also one of few museums which displays not only sculptures, but also one of the most impressive and comprehensive amounts of ivory works (circa 300), stained-glass windows (more than 230 panels), enamels (such as the famous Enamel champleve of Limoges), and five Late Medieval tapestries.

Part 1: The first part of our journey to the Cluny Museum will allow us to discover the monument itself, a private mansion built above the ruins of one of the Roman public baths of Lutetia (Paris), and how it turned into a museum in the 19th century. We will then look to the first centuries of the Middle Ages when the ancient Roman influence and the know-how brought by populations from the confines of Europe met and intermingled, bringing new cultural and artistic expressions. We will pay special attention to ivory masterpieces and how they evolved from the 5th to the 11th century. This will lead us to the birth and development of the Romanesque style in the 11th and 12th centuries. Among the famous artworks that we will cover in depth are the Ivory binding of Ariadne with Maenad, Satyr and Cupids (Constantinople, 6th c.), The Visigothic Votive Crowns (Treasure of Guarrazar, Spain, 7th c.), The Christ crowning Otto and Theophanous (Holy Roman Empire, 10th c.), Ivory tusk of elephant depicting the Ascension (Sicily, 11th c.) and the Romanesque capitals of Saint-Germain-des-Près (Paris, 11th c.). 

Join archaeologist and art history professor Guillaume Durand, in this virtual tour of the World’s most comprehensive collection of European and Mediterranean Medieval art. Led by an expert on Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean art and archaeology, who has lead French and US student groups through this museum for the past two decades, this lecture is designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels. Participants will come away with a thoughtful and refined understanding of the evolution of Medieval art in Europe and around the Mediterranean as well as the eye of a connoisseur when they next visit this museum.

Passionate about the regions and countries at the crossroad of civilizations, Guillaume Durand, Ph.D. has long-standing expertise in Ancient art and archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. Assistant dean and professor in archaeology and art history at the Institute for American Universities and the American College of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, France, Guillaume has traveled many times in Iran during these six past years in order to study the Persian Empires. He is also a tourist guide and lecturer in this country for French citizens.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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Nancy J Grayson (Austin, US)

Guest did not leave comment

C
Catherine (Boulder, US)
Incredibly detailed and exciting talk

Dr Durand has a wonderfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable grasp of his topic. A great combination of visuals with maps and photographs. Would highly recommend. We have signed up for the second talk after watching this first one. Thank you for your enthusiastic and highly informative talk.

h
harriet segal (Huntingdon Valley, US)

Well prepared,
Lecturer was enthusiastic

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
N
Nancy J Grayson (Austin, US)

Guest did not leave comment

C
Catherine (Boulder, US)
Incredibly detailed and exciting talk

Dr Durand has a wonderfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable grasp of his topic. A great combination of visuals with maps and photographs. Would highly recommend. We have signed up for the second talk after watching this first one. Thank you for your enthusiastic and highly informative talk.

h
harriet segal (Huntingdon Valley, US)

Well prepared,
Lecturer was enthusiastic