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Art Diary

Journey into Crystal

22 September 2023

The Musée de Cluny in Paris is tracing the history of crystal from the Middle Ages to the present day, revealing how the glittering, translucent rock has captivated viewers across civilisations for centuries (26 September–14 January 2024). The exhibition brings together more 200 objects to examine the material’s unique properties and its many uses throughout history, which range from the spiritual to the decorative and the scientific. Highlights include the intricately engraved Saint-Denis Crystal, on loan from the British Museum in London, which dates from the 1st century and depicts the crucifixion of Christ, alongside as rarely-shown objects from the Cluny’s own holdings, such as the 15th-century Monstrance carried by two angels. The show concludes with an installation by the contemporary artist Patrick Neu, created in response to the objects on display. Find out more on the Cluny’s website.

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Saint-Denis Crystal (1st century). British Museum, London. Photo: © British Museum

Monstrance carried by two angels (15th century). Cluny Museum, Paris. Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (Cluny Museum – National Museum of the Middle Ages)/Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Female Bust Ring (2nd century). Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Hôtel de Sade – Center of National Monuments. Photo: © Gérard Bonnet/CMN