Bibliotheque nationale de France


The Manuscripts collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France is one of the most important and richest in the world. Founded by Charles V in the Louvre, largely spread after the king’s death (a part of it is now in the Royal Library of Belgium and the British Library), the library was expanded during the Renaissance, for instance with the manuscripts brought from Italy (Milan, Naples) by kings Charles VIII and Louis XII. During the French Revolution, monastic libraries were given to the Nation, and the National Library received a major part of them.

The BnF has been involved in several projects such as Europeana Regia in which 651 manuscripts from BnF as well as other French libraries were digitised. More recently, the Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the BnF, 700-1200 concerns 800 manuscripts selected for their historical significance as well as for their artistic, historical or literary value.

For more information visit (in French).

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People involved in the action

Isabelle Breuil

Isabelle Breuil

Isabelle Breuil, scientific coordinator for digital mediation and cooperation within the Direction of Collections. She is in charge of monitoring international projects among the 14 thematic and specialized departments of the BnF and generally speaking, for the valuation of digitised documents on Gallica. As such, the regular programming of Gallica blog posts, the framing of the selection pages or even the Rencontres de Gallica have already made it possible to editorialize documents on the theme “The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages”: Meeting of Gallica “Roman de la Rose”, Chrétien de Troyes , Roman de Renart. She previously participated in the coordination on the Europeana Rise of Literacy project. Her academic cursus includes a master's degree of Philosophy (University of Sorbonne). She had a short carrer as film editor (short movie, documentaries) after completed a diploma of audiovisual technician.

Hélène Bergès

Hélène Bergès, European Affairs Officer within the Delegation for International Relations. She is coordinating the participation of the BNF to European projects (setting up proposals and daily monitoring), as well as to the Europeana Foundation and other associations such as the CENL or LIBER. She is also in charge of the bilateral cooperation with other European Libraries.

Elisabeth Freyre

Elisabeth Freyre

Elisabeth Freyre, project manager for European affairs in the International Relations Delegation. She is in charge of the BnF involvement within the European projects (from setting up of proposals to project coordination and monitoring) such as Europeana Regia, Europeana Newspapers and Rise of Literacy. She is also the contact person for the BnF cooperation with Europeana Foundation.

Charlotte Denoël

Charlotte Denoël, archivist paleograph and chief curator at the Department of Manuscripts of the Bibliothèque nationale de France where she is in charge of the medieval service. In 2019-2020, she was member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Her research on the manuscripts focuses on the Early and High Middle Ages and addresses images in a transdisciplinary perspective. Manuscripts and their decoration are analyzed through the prism of cultural history, history of art, and iconography. Among her current projects are a survey of manuscripts illuminated in France during the 10th and 11th centuries (Harvey Miller) and a collective book about the links between medieval art and contemporary art (Brepols).

Charlotte Denoël curated four exhibitions on the art of the Early and High Middle Ages, "Trésors carolingiens" (BnF, 2007), "Les temps mérovingiens" (Musée de Cluny, 2016), "Make it New. Carte blanche à Jan Dibbets" (BnF, 2018), and "Chefs d’oeuvre romans de Saint-Martial de Limoges" (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Limoges, 2019).

She participated in major research programs at the BnF which include digitization, scientific description, restoration, and/or dissemination of some corpus of manuscripts: Europeana Regia (2009-2012), Biblissima (2013-2019), and the Polonsky program "France-Angleterre, 700-1200: manuscrits médiévaux de la BnF et de la British Library" (2016-2018). Now, she is currently carrying in partnership with the Institut national d'histoire de l'art the project "Color: artefacts, material and cognition", whose aim is to create a database to collect and to make interoperable data from analyzes of color materials produced by research laboratories on artworks.

Alexandre Tur

Alexandre Tur, digital officer for the Manuscripts Department and curator of medieval scientific manuscripts. He is coordinating all digitization projects involving manuscript collections, incl. relations with the digitization workshops (internal and contractors) and both physical and digital workflows supervision. He is also the BnF point of contact for medieval manuscripts records quality and metadata policies, and responsible for the technical upgrade of the illuminations database “Mandragore”. In other projects, he is in charge of curating and mediating the BnF collection of medieval scientific manuscripts.

Paloma Pucci-Michel

Paloma Pucci, recruited for the editorialisation of "The Art of Reading in the Middle Ages". She has a background in medieval art history and two master's degrees in medieval manuscripts (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). She is particularly interested in historical anthropology, focusing on the spiritual and performative roles of early medieval illuminated liturgical manuscripts (primarily Carolingian and Ottonian). At present she is a second-year PhD student at the Sorbonne, exploring the visual, semantic, and sensory implications of decorated initials in 8th - 11th century Latin Christian manuscripts.

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