The Ecole du Louvre Comes to the Rescue of Religious Heritage

Main Altar in the Church of Saint Saturnin
Photo : C. B.

25/2/13 - Heritage - Saving French Art - La Sauvegarde de l’Art Français, presided by Olivier de Rohan is an approved public utility association created in 1921 whose aim is essentially to preserve the chapels and churches in France.

In partnership with the Junior Entreprise at the Ecole du Louvre [1], "la Sauvegarde", as it is generally known, has launched a project by which it finds and restores art works held in French religious buildings. This also implies attracting donors and arousing public awareness, thanks to an extensive media campaign, of what the association - correctly - calls "France’s greatest museum".
The role of the 25 students who are members of the Junior Entreprise participating in this operation is to select the objects whose condition urgently requires a restoration, then to search for patrons to fund the work with the help of la Sauvegarde de l’Art Français.

Once again, a private initiative is taking on the task which should normally correspond to the priorities of the French Ministry of Culture. While this government branch finances, through the DRAC, many restorations (now threatened however by the drastic budget cuts for historical monuments), we can find no manifestation (at least in the recent past) of a national campaign by the Ministry to underscore the importance of these paintings, sculptures, furnishings which constitute the wealth found in our heritage. And yet we know how ignorance can be even more destructive than lack of funds. Many towns do not know that they own treasures which, if enhanced, might in fact allow them to draw tourists.

On the Le Figaro website, readers may consult an article by Claire Bommelaer describing this operation and an interview with Olivier de Rohan. The Art Tribune which takes a particular interest in church furnishings (see notably our database) is associating itself with this initiative and will return regularly to the subject for updates. We find this project especially interesting as it allows students to involve themselves in a concrete way in protecting their object of study, which ideally should be the case for all art historians.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 7 mars 2013


[1] A Junior Entreprise brings together students from a school with a non-profit association in order to apply teaching in a concrete manner.

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