Beginning of the building
Under the direction of the Fourviere committee, the hill of Fourviere is turned into a huge building site for nearly a century. Pierre Bossan is appointed as architect, assisted by Louis Sainte-Marie Perrin. Pierre Bossan’s death in 1888 will not stop the works and Antoine Sainte-Marie Perrin’s son will carry on the work of the two men in 1917 after his father’s death. Meanwhile the church is consecrated by his Eminence Coullié on the 16th of June 1896.The following year the Pope Léon 13th erected it as a basilica.
After 25 years of work, the festivities of consecration of the basilica will spread over 3 days in 1896, from Monday, June 15 to Thursday, June 18.
The coronation of the Virgin
The coronation of the Virgin by Millefaut takes place on the day of the closure of the international marian Congress organized in Lyon on the 8th of September 1900. The crown made by the goldsmith Armand-Caillat is not put directly on the Virgin’s head. It is held by two winged angels who seem to come down from heaven.
It is made of gold, it weighs more than 4 kg and is enriched with 1791 precious stones and pearls given by the Lyonese families as a sign of devotion to the Virgin Mary, protector of the city. Nowadays only the facsimile made when the Germans were arriving in 1940 can be seen. The genuine crown, stolen in May 2017, is still searched.
Les personnages clés
After studying architecture at the college of Art and architecture in Lyon, he is appointed « architect of the cathedral » of Lyon and runs the works of the reconstruction of Saint Georges church. In 1849 as he travels in Sicily, he discovers the byzantine art. He draws the first sketches of the basilica of Fourviere during his stay at the villa Medicis.
Louis Jean Perrin dit Sainte-Marie Perrin (1835-1917)
Former student at the college of Art and architecture, he is also the inspector of the civil buildings and chief architect of the national veterinary school of Lyon. As a devout Catholic he has the task of completing the construction of the basilica after Pierre Bossan’s death in 1888. It a huge site where he will work until his death.
Giuseppe Belloni (1898-1964) :
Swiss sculptor, native of the Tessin, member of the society of the French artists, he arrives in Lyon in 1921. He devotes 23 years of his life to the working-out of the numerous sculptures of the basilica, among them the frieze of the Lyonese Holiness on the facade and the Judgment of Solomon on the Justice Tower.
Works still in progress…
The works continue until 1964. For the centenary of the consecration of the basilica the basilica is restored between 1992 and 1996. Numerous works are committed in the old chapel in 2007and in 2009 in the basilica. They still continue with the New Project of Fourvière.