Château de St.-Germain-en-Laye, Intérieur de la cour, Chapelle

Médéric Mieusement French

Not on view

This photograph shows the 1860s restoration of Sainte Chapelle (now called Chapelle Saint-Louis) in the château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, constructed by Louis IX between 1230 and 1238. The architectural remodeling of the château, begun in 1862 by order of Napoleon III and carried out by Eugène Millet, had as its aim the installation of a Musée des Antiquités Celtiques et Gallo-romaines, a goal realized in 1867. The task of historic restoration is always fraught with difficult decisions, but this photograph vividly sums up the Second Empire’s simultaneous enthusiasm for Gothic architecture and its willingness to rebuild and replace the worn vestiges of the past with a shiny new version of a reimagined Middle Ages.

Château de St.-Germain-en-Laye, Intérieur de la cour, Chapelle, Médéric Mieusement (French, Gonneville-la-Mallet 1840–1905 Pornic), Albumen silver print from glass negative

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