“I am delighted that, thanks to Kering’s patronage, an object of major interest to our country’s heritage will be entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts collection in Paris. This reflects our commitment to preserving, enriching and promoting France’s artistic and cultural legacy. For these same reasons I wanted this national treasure to be unveiled to the public during the European Heritage Days, in an unprecedented dialogue with the Pinault Collection, in this exceptional venue.”
François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kering
Thanks to Kering’s patronage in response to a call from the French Ministry for Culture and Communication to keep this “national treasure” in France, the Heloise and Abelard reliquary chest - classified as an “object of major heritage interest” by France’s National Treasures Advisory Committee - will enter the collection of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris.
The story of Heloise and Abelard is a tale of tragic and impossible love in the Middle Ages. Heloise was one of the most learned women of her time; Abelard was her teacher, a renowned cleric and theologian. These two eminently free-figures were forced to relinquish their love and withdraw from society retiring to a monastic life, far from each other. Their sole means of communication remained a passionate and now legendary correspondence, a stirring token of intersecting lives lived in contrast to society’s rules – except these early Romeo and Juliet did indeed exist in real life.
In the 18th century, the popularity of the two lovers’ story reached new heights after romantic authors found it a source of endless inspiration, and the couple’s tomb in Paris became a pilgrimage site for lovers from across Europe. The great medievalist and historian Alexandre Lenoir was one of the fathers of heritage as we understand it today, and the founder of the Musée des Monuments Français that would later be replaced by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Paris. He assembled this chest full of relics and documents linked to Heloise and Abelard’s life, reuniting them for all time.
Thanks to Kering’s patronage, the reliquary chest will return to its place of origin. As part of private collections since the beginning, it goes on public display for the first time today at the occasion of the European Heritage Days 2018.
A global Luxury group, Kering manages the development of a series of renowned Maisons in Fashion, Leather Goods, Jewelry and Watches: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo, Qeelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, as well as Kering Eyewear. By placing creativity at the heart of its strategy, Kering enables its Maisons to set new limits in terms of their creative expression while crafting tomorrow's Luxury in a sustainable and responsible way. We capture these beliefs in our signature: “Empowering Imagination.” In 2017, Kering had nearly 29,000 employees.
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