Château of Langeais: restoration of the reliquary

The reliquary is without a doubt the Château de Langeais’ most prized work of art. Dating back to the 13th Century, this is the oldest piece in the château’s collections. Laure de Guiran has recently restored it.
Placed at the centre of the sacred art cabinet, the reliquary inspires just as much awe as it does curiosity about the mysterious aura surrounding this magnificent sculpted box, whose origins are unknown. No-one knows what its exact intended destination had been nor what relics it contained. Nevertheless, its restoration has brought back to life its gilding, striking colours and punching decor, which had faded over time.
Built in the shape of a church, the reliquary was made out of gold and wood of various shades, embellished by decorative pins made from rock crystals. It is decorated with the apostles on the lower section and with the wise and foolish Virgins on the roof. The sides are adorned with figures of kings, bishops, and women, who were unable to be identified. Today, the box retains its original beauty after a thorough and careful cleaning during which the varnish, wax and bronze layers were removed because they had been oxidised. The layers of paint that were taken off have been replaced, respecting the techniques used long ago. This exceptional restoration has been tracked in a documentary film which explains every step of the process, offering a new perspective on this major piece of art in the Château of Langeais' collection.
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