The Berry Museum

Bourges, France

The Hôtel Cujas, which is a listed historical monument, has housed the Berry Museum since 1892.

The ground floor is occupied by the archaeological collections, with protohistoric (locally-found bronze Etruscan artefacts) and especially Gallo-Roman finds. Bourges-Avaricum was the capital of the ancient province of Aquitaine.

The lapidary section includes a large number of funeral items (220 steles), as well as fragments of religious architecture and sculptures.

Sculptures from the Holy Chapel of Bourges, mourners from the tomb of Duke John of Berry, as well as stained glass windows and precious objects are exhibited in another aisle of the museum.

Paintings and drawings by Jean Boucher, a particularly active artist in Bourges during the first third part of the 17th century, can also be seen in the same aisle.

On the first floor, rural life in Berry in the 19th century is brought to life through everyday items, furniture, costumes, tools used by farmers and craftsmen. A room is devoted to the works of the famous 19th century potters from the village of La Borne : the Talbot family.

Finally, another small room exhibits Egyptian funeral objects, including a mummy in its sarcophagus.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1892
Category: Museums in France

More Information

www.ville-bourges.fr

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.