Church of Saint Sulpice

LocationParis, France
PhotoFrançois Guillemin (images 05, 06, 07, 10)

The church of Saint-Sulpice is a majestic place of worship in the centre of Paris, in the famous Quartier Saint-Germain-des-Près. It is the second-largest church in the city, after Notre Dame. Built in the seventeenth century, Saint-Sulpice is particularly known for its external facade in a neoclassical style with a double colonnade, Ionic over Doric order.

Saint-Sulpice is one of Paris’s most popular tourist attractions, not only because of the works of art it contains – including murals by Eugène Delacroix and a statue by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle – but also because, in 2003, some scenes from The Da Vinci Code, the film adaptation of the acclaimed book by Dan Brown, were shot there.

The ten commanding statues by the artist Edmé Bouchardon, of Jesus Christ Leaning on the Cross, the Virgin of Sorrows, and eight of the apostles, arranged around the choir arches, are each lit from above by a Siri 2.0 projector with extremely narrow optics (6°), chosen with an anthracite finish to better integrate the devices into the architecture.

In the Lady Chapel, four Zab Track 1.1 projectors, fitted with a customized extra-long snoot, light the artworks by the artist Carle van Loo. The paintings, created in the 18th century, circa 1746, represent the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Their colours are enhanced by the LEDs with a high colour rendering index (CRI 94) used in the projectors.

The remaining lighting in the church is largely left to the enormous stained-glass windows. With the lower part of the altar and the choir picked out by the light of the projectors, and the upper vault immersed in a half-light, the contrast this creates accentuates the imposing, fascinating and mysterious nature of this famous Parisian monument.

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