The Nantes Museum of Arts ,Nantes!

Well here I go again, been at home makes you think about where you have been and take a closer look at my blog. Well as usual i write on the many places visited and as always never quite tell all! Nantes is a city that is like one of my homes, not only for the visits with the family and friends that live there but on my business trips as well; needless to say been all over. However, there is so much beautiful things to write about my belle France that oh well here is another, the Museum of Arts of Nantes.

The Nantes Museum of Arts ( I have it mentioned as the former name Nantes Museum of Fine Arts), was created, like fourteen other provincial museums, by consular decree of September 1, 1801. It is one of the largest museums in the region. The Musée d ‘arts de Nantes is located in the heart of the city center, a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, the Jardin des Plantes and the SNCF train station.

Founded under the Consulate, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts receives works purchased by the State and deposits from the Central Museum (you know it as the Louvre Museum). From the beginning of the 19C, it took an important place in French public collections thanks to the purchase by the City of Nantes of the collection of the brothers Pierre and François Cacault. This fund, comprising major works, is subsequently supplemented by several other direct or testamentary donations, and by a purchasing policy supported by the Society of Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts in Nantes. Today, there is a collection of works from the Pays de Loire Regional Contemporary Art Fund and the Pompidou Center added to this rich collection.


The Arts Museum benefited in 1804 and in 1809 from the dispatch by the State of 43 paintings taken from the reserves of the Central Museum. These works come from the old royal collection, churches and convents of Paris or even revolutionary and Napoleonic conquests (nationalisations from the French revolution). But it was the purchase of the Cacault brothers’ collection by the city in 1810 that gave the Nantes Arts museum all its richness and scope. It was not until 1830 that the collections were presented to the public on the second floor of the covered market located rue de Feltre on the site of the old Marché de Feltre. In 1891, the city decided to build a building specially designed to preserve them and present them to the public in good conditions. A quadrangular plot near the school and the Jardin des Plantes was chosen to accommodate the future Palais des Beaux-Arts. The plan is organized around a patio covered with a glass roof. A double circuit of galleries and rooms surrounds it on two levels. You reach the upper level by a monumental double flight staircase decorated with a fresco by Hippolyte Berteaux entitled Laborious Brittany and an arched vestibule. The rooms on the ground floor are lit by large windows, those upstairs benefit from modern overhead lighting made possible by the metal frame of the whole.


Until 1985, the building also housed within it, and this since 1900, most of the funds of the city’s municipal library, before these were finally installed in the new media library Jacques-Demy located on the Quai de la Fosse. In 2011, the Arts Museum closed its doors for an initially planned duration of two years maximum, in order to carry out important enlargement works which must bring its surface to 17,000 m2 (against 11,400 m2 at the time) and allowing it to include the chapel of the Oratory that served as a place of temporary exhibitions for the museum located nearby, by constructing new buildings. However, the discovery of important water leaks at the site of the future expansion delayed the construction site, forcing the architects to modify their plans, provided for a reopening in two phases: 2016 for the extension and 2018 for the historic building. The reopening of the Arts Museum finally took place on June 23, 2017 for all of the exhibition spaces. The cour Jules-Dupré courtyard is a paved road that connects rue Georges-Clemenceau to rue Gambetta along the west side of the museum. Its access is, from the start, limited by grids located at each end, to allow exclusive use by the museum.

The collections briefly explained.

One of the original features of the collection of ancient art is the relative importance of the collection of Italian primitives, coming mainly from the collection of diplomat François Cacault created from 1785 to 1803, at a time when these works were usually little appreciated by amateurs. The 17C was the period when the richness of the museum’s collection was best expressed. The Italian school remains the most important, with an exceptional set of works of Caravaggio inspiration, illustrating the taste of the Cacault brothers for this painting of a powerful realism. The French Grand Siècle is also well represented. In the field of religious painting, almost all the main trends of the first part of the century are illustrated. Flemish and Dutch schools are well illustrated. The collections of the 18C, less developed, nevertheless keep rare works. Due to the presence of a rich old collection finally presented to the public from 1830, the town decided in 1838 to acquire only contemporary art. The choices fall on the famous artists who exhibit in Nantes after the Parisian Salon. French painting from the 1830s and 1850s enters the museum with two coherent sets of artists representative of the taste of the romantic era. The museum also benefits from numerous State deposits chosen from the acquisitions made at the end of the Official Salons in Paris. In recent years, the collection has been enriched with important works. The main movements of modern art 20C are represented in the collections. The museum’s contemporary collection 21C has been enriched since 2003 by numerous deposits of works from the National Fund for Contemporary Art and new acquisitions. The Arts Museum brings together around 13,500 works on paper such as engravings, drawings and photographs or fabric, from the 15C to the 21C. The 64 albums of the Cacault brothers contain 7,500 old engravings. For the 19C, the cabinet has 3,000 drawings and prints. Modern art is also represented by 3,000 drawings and prints while for contemporary art, there are 350 drawings and as many photographs.

The Arts Museum of Nantes in French: Arts Museum of Nantes in French

The tourist office of Nantes on the Arts Museum in English: Tourist office of Nantes on the Arts Museum

This is a magnificent charming area of Nantes to even walks and see the wonderful architecture of buildings all around you, not to miss the Arts Museum of Nantes. Hope you enjoy the brief tour.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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