DNP and The National Library of France Sign Agreement to Digitize Collection Stored in the Historical Site of Richelieu

Partners to collaborate on promotion of historical architecture and collection

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.
National Library of France

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd (DNP) and the National Library of France (BnF) are pleased to announce the July 2 signing of an agreement on the joint digitization and promotion of the valuable collection and historic palace and site of Richelieu.

The BnF’s oldest heritage institution dating back to the Library of King Charles the Fifth in 1368. The Richelieu site is undergoing the first full scale restoration since its settlement in 1721, in the heart of Paris. The Renaissance of Richelieu’s mission is to share its collections and heritage, and to create a new museum for present and future generations to admire and enjoy. In 2021, Richelieu will reopen completely, showing the treasures of the BnF for the first time and offering a unique digital experience through a hands-on experiential corner that capitalizes on DNP’s cutting-edge digital technology in its new museum. 2021 will be a historic event marking 300 years since the facility was founded on rue de Richelieu in Paris.

At upper left: Drinking vessel associated with Khosrow I (approximately 6th-7th century BC) © BnF
At upper right: DNP employee engaged in studio-based digitizing task © David Paul Carr/BnF
At lower left: The decoration of Galerie Mazarine (December 2018) © Dai Nippon Printing
At lower right: Drinking cup associated with Ptolemy (1st century BC to 1st century AD) © BnF

[Cultural Artifacts Planned for Digitization]

1.Digitization of valuable works of art in the collections

The Coins, Medals and Antiques Department preserves a universally unparalleled collection of rare works of art. As part of this major challenge, digitization efforts will focus on the treasure of the Abbey of Saint Denis. This collection includes the Cup of the Ptolemies, or the drinking cup  associated  with  Ptolemy, and the gold and crystal Sassanid cup said to be owned by Khosrow I, along with a selection of masterpieces from ancient art to Medieval and Renaissance artworks, such as the Hydria of the painter Amykos.

2.Restoration of historical interior spaces and digitization

The joint project of DNP and BnF will digitize the two historic spaces that represent Richelieu:  the Galerie Mazarine and the Cabinet du Roi.

The Galerie Mazarine, designated as an historic building by the French government, is a unique 17th century Italian gallery in Paris. Major renovations will be made including restoring the ceiling and decorations, stucco and gold leaf. At the reopening, the gallery will become once again a gallery of treasures, where masterpieces from the collections will be exhibited to the public for the first time. 

King Louis XV asked the great French Masters, François Boucher, Charles Natoire and Carle Van Loo, to design this original 18th century period room. In 2021, the Cabinet du Roi will be open to the public for the first time, offering a total immersion in an actual 18th century décor. 

[DNP Proprietary Digital Technology]

1.Digital technology designed to achieve an open library

In July 2015, DNP and BnF successfully launched a joint project to promote the full-scale 3D digitization of 55 particularly valuable terrestrial and celestial globes from the BnF collection. These exhibits can now be viewed at Gallica, the digital library of the BnF. In this latest development, DNP has worked on the 3D digitalization of a variety of textures and shapes that have been considered extremely difficult to achieve so far. And as a result of these efforts, the company will contribute to balancing the demands of both preservation and exhibition by making it possible to appreciate the finer details of the exhibits from every angle, which is, otherwise difficult to achieve when viewing real objects. This will be achieved by digitizing historical interior spaces to create 3D expressions that allow viewers to get closer to the artifacts and appreciate the finer details of paintings and indoor decorations that normally cannot be seen.

In addition, the partners will develop, implement and install in the museum a digital tool which will offer a new model of fusion between library and museum. A presentation of the spaces of the Gallery of Mazarin and the Cabinet du Roi and an interface for multilateral observation and understanding of artworks will be available to visitors. Its design will be based on specific data stored in Gallica and Europeana, among others. 

2.Innovative Viewing System

Newly digitized artifacts will be presented on Gallica from 2020, and the proprietary digital technology will be launched as an innovative viewing system at the restored Richelieu site from 2021. An advance release will be conducted at DNP Museum Lab in Japan in autumn 2020.

Through this latest development, DNP aims to link a variety of information such as art galleries, museums, libraries, and archives to improve the quality of art appreciation by identifying and providing content that matches the interests of viewers.

[National Library of France]

The National Library of France maintains a collection of more than 40 million documents, bequeathed to the nation by successive French kings, of which some 20 million are stored at Richelieu. In addition to utilizing the extensive collection that has been established through the legal deposit system and active purchase policies, BnF is focused on the preservation and restoration of existing collections so that they can be passed down to new generations of viewers. The BnF collections, which may be called the “Fountain of knowledge,” includes documents of all types, including, manuscripts, printed materials, block prints, periodicals such as newspapers and magazines, photographs, charts, currency, audiovisual materials, video games, and Internet sites. Gallica, the digital library of the BnF holds 5 million digital documents that can be accessed on a remote basis.