Due to the major renovations on Notre-Dame de Fourvière site, the treasure and the permanent collections are no longer exposed to the general public eye.
Discover the treasure and collections of Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Fourvière has always been a place where the Lyonnais would come and invoke Mary. To thank her, they had paintings done and hung on the walls of the Chapel of Our Lady. Some pictures show that the walls and ceilings were once completely covered by paintings. Unfortunately, in the middle of the 20th century, a very large part of the painted ex-voto was destroyed and the Lyonnais then chose to engrave their thanks on slabs of marble. It is possible today to see a small part of the painted ex-voto in the Chapel of Notre-Dame next to the Basilica. The rest of the collection is kept in the storehouse of the Museum.
The Museum mostly owns works of art from the 19th century, created by local goldsmiths such as Armand-Calliat. The collection has also been enriched by 17th and 20th century items.
The Museum of religious art of Fourvière owns a collection made of more than 5 000 items of religious vestments. Lyons, renowned for its silk, was one of the centres of religious clothing tailoring. The collection includes items from the 18th, 19thand 20th centuries.
It mainly includes wooden and stone Marian statues which date back to the 13th century for the oldest one. The Museum owns a little over 300 statues. Most of them come from a collection gathered by an old cannon of the basilica.
Most of the Treasury dates from the construction of the basilica at the end of the 19th century. the Treasury is very representative of 19th and 20th century goldsmiths, with pieces by Parisian artists (Froment-Meurice) or Lyon (Armand-Calliat).
A great name of the 19th century goldsmith: Armand-Calliat
Among many goldsmiths of the 19th century represented by treasury coins, Armand-Calliat is one of the most important in the history of Fourvière. This goldsmith from Lyon meets the architect of the basilica, Pierre Bossan, in 1867. Their friendship opens the way to an original artistic approach that wants to emancipate the neo-Gothic patterns of the time, when the artwork is designed as the manifestation of a religious thought.
Through their creations, they express a theological idea and make an act of faith. The monstrance of Fourvière is one of the most explicit examples of this ideal. The decoration of the monstrance, whose function is to contain a host and show it to the faithful so that they come to adore Christ among them, will bring to light the reality of this coming. The monstrance is a poem at Epiphany, that is to say at the manifestation of God. At the foot, the three wise men and a shepherd represent the humanity coming to adore Christ made man.
They are preceded by the four evangelists, who announce the Good News. In the center, Mary introduces her son to the world. It supports the host, surrounded by the chorus of angels moving in the midst of the cosmos, who eternally sing the glory of God.