Voices for Tolerance: Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day

Voices for Tolerance
In an Age of Persecution

on exhibit June 9 - October 30, 2004

The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day

Although it comprised only a tiny minority of the population (no more than ten per-cent), the French Huguenot or Calvinist faith, and its rapid spread in France, had the effect of destabilizing the country by the early 1560s. The Huguenot struggle for toleration, for the acceptance of two faiths under one ruler, and the ensuing wars of religion (1562-1598) were the occasion of some of the sixteenth century's worst excesses of religious extremism. Nonetheless, this struggle also gave rise to eloquent pleas for toleration and, with the Edict of Nantes (1598) at the end of the conflict, to state-imposed, if ultimately temporary and limited, religious freedom.




François Dubois (1529-1584)
Reproduction of La Saint-Barthélemy, ca. 1572-84
Oil on wood, 94 x 154 cm, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne
Photo: J.C. Ducret, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne

The famous painting of the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre in Paris on 24 August 1572 depicts scenes from the most notorious incident in the French wars of religion and one of the most striking examples of the extremes of religious intolerance in the age. The Huguenot (French Calvinist) painter, François Dubois is reputed to have been an eyewitness to the massacre of thousands of his fellow Huguenots on the streets of Paris.

Voices for Tolerance in an Age of Persecution
Exhibition Highlights

Humanists for Peace | The Reformation | The Struggle for Religious Toleration | The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day | Jews in Early Modern Europe | The Miseries of Religious War | Ambivalence towards Islam | Encountering Africans | Catholics in England | James I and Religious Toleration | The Puritan Revolution | Ireland | Debating Toleration in the Restoration | "Acts" of Toleration | Voices for Tolerance Amidst Acts of Hate

Exhibition Intro | Visiting the Folger

This page updated September 29, 2004