the merovingian age


the merovingian age
July 2016
26 October, 2016 - 13 February, 2017
Reflecting Roman influences and distinguished by unprecedented forms of power, the start
of the Middle Ages is marked by the development of original forms of expression which
have often been overlooked. The exhibition The Merovingian Age, which will be shown at
the Cluny Museum from October 26th 2016 to February 13th 2017 offers a lavish panorama
of the artistic and intellectual productivity of this period of three centuries, beginning with
the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451 and culminating with the deposition of the last
of the « Kings who did nothing » in 751.
More than 150 objects, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, works of gold and silversmiths,
coins, textiles and even charters have been brought together thanks to a partnership with
the National Library of France. Many masterpieces from the Cabinet des Médailles are on
show, including the remains of the treasure of King Childeric, the treasure of Gourdon and
the famous throne of Dagobert.
The Frankish kingdom was one of a multitude of new kingdoms loyal to an enduring imperial
ideal inspired by Rome but influenced by Germanic and Anglo-Saxon practices. The spread
of Christianity led to the development of new beliefs : the cult of relics, at the same time as
some pagan traditions were incorporated into the liturgical rituals which emerged during this
This profound originality reveals itself in the artistic production of the Merovingians, and in
the wealth of materials and colors that are astonishing even today. The diversity of written
forms demonstrates the intellectual expansion which enlivens monastic and episcopal
centers, the creative sources where an erudite culture developed. Works of art such as the
chasuble of Queen Bathilde, coins, or the charters of Frankish kings attest to the complexity
of expressions of power, combining a classical heritage with innovative forms.
6 place Paul Painlevé
75005 Paris
T : 01 53 73 78 00
F : 01 46 34 51 75
Manuscripts of the VIIth and VIIIth centuries coming notably from the department of
Manuscripts of the National Library of France, the libraries of Laon and Autun, the National
Library of Russia, the Vatican Library, and the National Archives of France, are placed in a
new dialogue with the collections of the Cluny Museum and the loans from the National
Museum of Archaeology at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the British Museum ; the Museum of the
art and history of the Jura at Delemont, and the Museum Alfred-Bonno at Chelles.
A gateway to the thousands of years of European history we call the Middle Ages the
Merovingian age is very different from the image of barbarian rule with which they are
often associated. Framed in the majestic frigidarium of the thermal baths of Lutèce, the
exhibition plunges the visiteur into the heart of three hundred years of artistic and literary
Press contact
Aline Damoiseau
Press officer & editorial communication
[email protected]
T. +33 (0)1 53 73 78 25
P. +33 (0)6 09 23 51 65
Practical information
Musée de Cluny
National Museum of the Middle Ages
6, place Paul Painlevé
75005 Paris
T. + 33 (0)1 53 73 78 16
Days and hours of opening
Every day except Tuesday,
from 9:15 am to 5:45 pm.
Desk closes at 5:15 pm.
Closed 1st January, 1st May and
25th December.
9:15 am to 6 pm, free access
T. + 33 (0)1 53 73 78 22
Access :
Métro Cluny-La‑Sorbonne /SaintMichel / Odéon
Bus n° 21 – 27 – 38 – 63 – 85 – 86 – 87
RER B and C line, stop at Saint-Michel
– Notre-Dame station
Full price: 9€
Concessions: 7€ Free for UE nationals
under 26
Free for everybody on the first sunday
of each month
comment and share on twitter using
the hashtag #ExpoMerovingiens
Also, starting September 2016, come discover two other exhibitions on the
Middle Ages !
Austrasie, le royaume mérovingien oublié
- Exhibition at Espace Camille Claudel, Saint-Dizier
From 16 September, 2016 to 26 March, 2017
- Exhibition at Musée d’archéologie nationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
From 22 April to October 2017
Quoi de neuf au Moyen Âge ?
Exhibition at Cité des sciences et de l’industrie
From 15 October, 2016 to 1 August,2017
Crédit photo : Crosse dite de saint Germain, MJ 32. Collection du Musée jurassien d’art et d’histoire, Delémont © Bernard Migy