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Archbishop collectors

Crosse pastorale du cardinal Fesch

Cardinal Joseph Fesch and Monseigneur Louis-Jacques-Maurice de Bonald played an essential role in contributing to the prestige and enrichment of the treasure's collection.

Cardinal Joseph Fesch

When Cardinal Joseph Fesch, appointed by his nephew Emperor Napoleon, became Primate of the Gauls in 1802, Saint-Jean Cathedral was stripped of its ornaments. Transformed into a temple of Reason during the Revolution, the building had just been returned to worship.

Portrait du Cardinal Fesch

© Clément Apffel

While he played an essential political role between the French Empire and the Papacy, the cardinal never ceased to devote himself to restoring the prestige of his archdiocese. He acquired numerous paintings for the cathedral, and the treasury was reborn thanks to works commissioned for ceremonies that regained some of their forgotten splendor. After the fall of the Empire in 1814, this high dignitary took refuge in Rome until his death in 1839.

Mors de chape

© Centre des monuments nationaux / Clément Apffel

Louis-Jacques-Maurice de Bonald

Monseigneur Louis-Jacques-Maurice de Bonald became head of the archdiocese in 1840. A true art lover, he sought out religious objects from the Middle Ages on his travels and donated them to the Saint-Jean treasury.

The prelate commissioned Lyonnais silversmiths to create new pieces for the treasury, inspired by the medieval decorative repertoire. He was also keen to promote the creations of the city of Lyon, which at the time had numerous sacred art workshops exporting quality works around the world.

Crosse pastorale du Cardinal Fesch

© Centre des monuments nationaux / Pascal Lemaître

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