"The books of Notre-Dame, 11th-18Th centuries"

From 14 December 2012 to 15 March 2013

From 14 December 2012 to 15 March 2013

This exhibition brings together manuscripts, often richly illuminated, and a set of rare books that testify to many aspects of the activity of Notre-Dame from the middle ages to the revolution: ordering of luxurious missals by the great bishops of the 14th and XVth centuries, evolution and reforms of rites and liturgical chant, teaching, relations of the Cathedral with the Kingdom of France... The books of our Lady reached us make up an exceptional literary, artistic and spiritual heritage.

In 1163 Pope Alexander III posed in the presence of King Louis VII the first stone of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. This famous monument, and the community of men who lived and worked under its shadow, occupy an exceptional place in the history of France. But the history of the Cathedral is also made of books: manuscripts composed for worship, preserved in the choir of the Church; witnesses of the major events in which the Church of Paris was involved; books written, read or possessed by the residents of the Notre-Dame cloister; books, especially, from the library of the chapter, of which one can follow the slow formation from the 13Th century, and which constitutes at the end of the old regime a remarkable collection, obviously rich in the religious fields but also widely open to Science, travel books, literature and secular history. The Capitular library has in fact welcomed books from other shrines (Abbey of Saint-Denis, Collegiate Church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois...), and many gifts made by bishops and chanoins (some of whom were bibliophiles), Princes or Scholars. If some three hundred manuscripts were sold to the King in 1756, it included in the revolution about 12 000 volumes, of which an important part then joined the Mazarine library.

Exhibition organized by the Mazarine library, in collaboration with the Institute of research and history of texts (CNRS) and the Institute of research on the musical heritage in France.
Curator of the exhibition: Cécile Davy-Rigaux (IRPMF), Jean-Baptiste Lebigue (IRHT)
and Yann Sordet (Mazarine).


More information, access, schedules: click here.

Light a candle at Notre-Dame