Between Roman influence and the establishment of new forms of power, the beginning of the Middle Ages was marked by the development of original forms of expression that were often overlooked. The exhibitionThe Merovingian Times , which is held at Cluny museum from October 26, 2016 to February 13, 2017, offers a wide panorama of artistic and intellectual activity during this period of three centuries, between the battle of the Catalan Fields in 451 and the end of the reign of the “lazy kings” in 751.
Over one hundred and fifty works, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, pieces of goldsmith's work, coins, textiles and even archival documents have been brought together thanks to a scientific partnership with the National Library of France. Several masterpieces from the Cabinet des Médailles are thus on display, including the remains of Childeric's treasure, the Gourdon treasure or the famous so-called Dagobert throne.
Between the persistence of an imperial ideal of Roman inspiration and Germanic and insular influence, a multitude of kingdoms was formed, including the Frankish kingdom. The spread of Christianity led to the emergence of new beliefs, in relics for example, even though certain pagan traditions resisted, integrated into the liturgical practices that emerged at that time. This deep originality is revealed in Merovingian artistic productions, of a wealth of materials and colors which still surprise today. The diversity of the forms of writing testifies to the intellectual profusion which animates the monastic or episcopal centers, centers of creation where a learned culture develops. Works such as Queen Bathilde's chasuble, coins or the diplomas of Frankish kings attest to the complexity of expressions of power, between ancient heritage and singular forms.
"The Merovingian Times", from October 26, 2016 to February 13, 2017, Musée de Cluny, Musée national du Moyen Age (Paris).