Goya museum of Castres!!!

And again looking at revising updating older posts found some surprises again. I am sure there will be more as my vault of travels is huge…. I have mentioned this beauty in previous posts but feels it deserve a brand new post of its own. This is the Goya museum of Castres!!! Hope you enjoy it as I.  

For orientation, Castres is a town in the Tarn department 81 in the region of Occitanie. My nostalgic part of my belle France. It is  42 km from Albi ,15 km of Mazamet, and 72 km from Toulouse. The town is cross by the Agout river a tributary of the Tarn river that joins here with the Durenque and the Thorate rivers.

The Goya museum is located in a former episcopal palace of classical 17C architecture whose plans were drawn by Jules-Hardouin Mansart, one of the architects of Versailles. The Goya museum is a museum of Hispanic art unique in France, presenting the creation in Spain from Antiquity to the 20C. The Goya museum has the second biggest collection of Hispanic art in France after that of the Louvre.

castres hotel de ville and musee goya jul10

A bit of history I like

In 1894 when Pierre Briguiboul, son of a painter and collector from Castres, bequeaths the private collection of his father Marcel to the city of Castres, he donated in particular three works by Goya, “Self-portrait with glasses”, “Portrait of Francisco del Mazo ”and“ the Philippine junta ”. At the same time entered the museum in the company of seventy-two objects including sixteen paintings, furniture, weapons. and tapestries. This bequest is at the origin of the Hispanic vocation of the museum. From Goya, the museum also preserves all four engraved series: Caprices, Bullfighting, Proverbs and the Disasters of War, regularly presented in temporary exhibitions. In 1947, in agreement with the authorities of the State and the City, the museum of Castres then took the name of “Goya Museum” and oriented its collections around Hispanic art.

 In 1949, prestigious deposits from the Louvre confirm the Hispanic orientation of this museum.  Since then, the acquisition policy pursued by the City of Castres and the museum has made it possible to regularly enrich this remarkable collection. The purchase of the Gaudí series by Joan Miró fulfills the desire to strengthen the estate linked to the 20C. The Goya Museum also keeps in its collections, the four engraved series of Goya. However, these are only presented to the public on an ad hoc basis during temporary exhibitions for conservation reasons.  Other artists are also present, such as Juan Rexach, Velasquez, Murillo, Ribera, Valdés Leal, Alonso Cano, Pacheco, Zurbaran, and Picasso. Among these deposits, we find two essential paintings: the Portrait of Philip IV by Velázquez and the Virgin with the Rosary by Murillo. The galerie du Siècle d’Or or golden age gallery dedicated to 17C works was opened to the public in 1956. More recently, following on from salle Goya or Goya room, a 19-20C room has been fitted out, bringing together major artists of this period. that some historians have called the Silver Age such as: Anglada-Camarasa, Rusiñol, Sorolla… and Picasso.

The building on which museum is located began its construction in 1665 under the direction of Jules Hardouin Mansart , intendant of the buildings of King Louis XIV and architect of Versailles, it ended in 1673. In 1676, the building was decorated with French garden designed by André Le Nôtre, architect of the royal gardens under Louis XIV. Requisitioned as national property following the French revolution, the building was acquired by the town in 1794. It initially housed the Sub-prefecture then the City/Town Hall and in 1840, the first floor accommodated at its creation, the Castres museum, then the library and archives.

Castres hotel de ville and musee Goya ent jul10

There is a large-scale project that began the summer of 2020 at the Goya Museum. Expansion of exhibition halls, redevelopment of spaces, improvement of accessibility etc. This in-depth modernization will breathe new life into the museum and renovated it from top to bottom and for 18 months, this cultural establishment steeped in history. Due to the pandemic the renovations are ongoings and its expected to reopen in July 2022.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and its worth the detour are:

The City of Castres on the Goya Museum: https://www.ville-castres.fr/fr/musee-goya-presentation

The Castres-Mazamet Tourist office on the Goya museum: https://www.tourisme-castresmazamet.com/fr/decouvrir/nos-activites-et-sites-touristiques/musees/le-musee-goya/

The Tarn dept 81 tourists office on Castres: https://www.tourisme-tarn.com/uk/discover-the-tarn/unmissable-attractions/castres-and-montagne-noire/

The museums of the Occitanie region on the Goya Museum of Castres : https://musees-occitanie.fr/musee/musee-goya-musee-dart-hispanique/

And there you go folks, a wonderful historical museum in a wonderful historical architecturally nice building in central Castres. You won’t have to go to Spain to see Goya at his best, just come to the Goya Museum of Castres! And my nostalgic Tarn dept 81 of my belle France.

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

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