Kara Lennon Casanova
Directrice Déléguée au mécénat
Téléphone : 33 (0)1 53 79 48 51
In accordance with government guidance around Covid-19, all Bibliothèque nationale de France buildings and facilities will be closed to the public starting Friday 30 October, until further notice
Detail of the vault of the Mazarine Gallery © BnF
The Mazarine Gallery was built by François Mansart between 1644 and 1646 as a commission by Cardinal Mazarin to host his paintings and sculpture collections. The gallery was decorated by two Italian painters, Gian Francesco Romanelli and Gian Francesco Grimaldi. The arched ceiling is in pure Baroque style. Its vault is ornate with a fresco, a rare feat in Paris at the time. The Mazarine Gallery is classified as a French Historic Monument.
The renovation work is aimed at the deteriorated fresco, cracked stuccos, the damaged Versailles-style floor and the marouflaged canvas on the walls which will be enhanced.
The King’s Cabinet was furnished in the 18th Century to host the Royal collection of coins and medals, one of the most remarkable in the World. Its decor, painted by the three 18th Century masters, François Boucher, Charles Natoire and Carle Van Loo, as well as its furniture make an unparalleled ensemble. The King’s cabinet is included on the French Supplementary Historic Monument List.
The renovation work aims at reviving the painted decor’s brilliance and original colors, and at the cleaning of the paintings’ canvases.
The Oval Room is a majestic reading room. Its construction started in 1897 with architect Jean-Louis Pascal and it was inaugurated only in 1936. Nicknamed the ‘Oval Heaven’, it boasts impressive volumes: 44 meters in length, 33 meters in width and 18 meters in height. It features enchanting mosaics, gilding, ornamental paintings, painted decor and unique pieces of furniture. The Oval Room is included on the French Supplementary Historic Monument List.
The renovation work will focus on the restoration of the canopy so as to offer natural light for the comfort of the readers, on the beautifully carved panelings, the paintings, the mosaics, the gilding, and the furniture.
To be part of the Oval Room renovation, you can also associate your name or the name of a loved one to one of the room’s exceptional emblems.
The wooden libraries (1,9 meter high, 1,1 meter wide) run along the impressive circumference of the room on three levels. Their shelves are held with brass cleats.
Under the vault of the Oval Room, the names of Cities famous for their symbolical significance in the history of civilizations and libraries are painted in red and set in gilded cartouches.
Around the room, sixteen pairs of cast iron fluted columns carry strong capitals on which rest the arch of the semi-circular vault.