President Bonjean's habit (jacket), 1871; Collection of Palacio Galliera. © Paris Musées, Palais Galliera
From 14 to 16 December 2020, the museum welcomes the forensic doctor, archaeologist and anthropologist Philippe Charlier, surrounded by his students, for a study associating forensic techniques with the history of clothing in the historical context of the Paris Commune.
A little-known treasure in the museum's collections, the object under study is the garment worn by the provisional president Louis-Bernard Bonjean during its execution by the Commune de Paris on 24 May 1871. This three-piece black woollen suit, riddled with bullet holes, is one of the rare testimonies of this dark period in the history of Paris.
The scientific group of the diploma "Techniques of Forensic Anthropology" of the University of Paris-Saclay will meet in the reserves of the Palais Galliera to establish a forensic analysis and a ballistic study from the garment on a mannequin or examination table. In the manner of a crime scene where the garment replaces the body, the ballistic lesions will be reconstructed from the entry and exit orifices, completed by secondary toxicological analyses at the CHU Lariboisière laboratory, and by microscopic analyses at the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac (where Doctor Charlier heads the Research and Teaching Department). The calibre of the weapons used, the angles of attack as well as the list of potentially affected organs will allow a 3D anatomical-clinical reconstruction.
The scientific report will be published in 2021, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Commune de Paris and the commemoration of the death of President Bonjean. This project is part of the research policy that the Palais Galliera is developing in close collaboration with institutions of higher education (Parsons School, the University of Paris IV, the INP) and other national museums (in this case the Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac Museum).
Philippe Charlier is a Doctor of Medicine (forensic medicine & anatomo-pathology), Doctor of Letters (archaeo-anthropology) and Doctor of Science (bioethics). University lecturer (UVSQ) and hospital practitioner (AP-HP), HDR, he is since October 2018 the director of the Department of Research and Teaching at the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac (Paris). His specialities are the use of biomedical tools for the analysis of ancient artefacts (human remains and museum objects), and the study of magico-religious rituals around illness and death. He strives to make the dead speak, most often centuries old, as shown by his various works on the remains of Richard the Lionheart, Agnès Sorel, Foulque III Nerra d'Anjou, Diane de Poitiers, the false relics of Joan of Arc, the head of Henry IV or the skull of Adolf Hitler.
In addition, he is the author of numerous works at the crossroads of medicine and anthropology, such as « Vaudou, les dieux, la nature et les homme » ("Voodoo, the gods, nature and men"), published in 2020 in the mythical collection "Terre Humaine", Plon.