Musée des Augustins, Toulouse

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  • display of museum along rue de Metz
    display of museum along rue de Metz
    by gwened
  • One of the Romanesque sculptures
    One of the Romanesque sculptures
    by Nemorino
  • Henri IV
    Henri IV
    by Nemorino
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    The Augustinian Convent

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 15, 2015

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    The major art museum of Toulouse was founded during the French Revolution and is still located in the old Augustinian Convent, which was constructed beginning in the fourteenth century.

    By the sixteenth century Toulouse had more than 25 religious orders (depending on what you count as a religious order), not only the Augustinians, but also the Jesuits, the Chartreux, the Cordeliers, the Jacobins (aka Dominicans), the Capuchins, the Minimes, the Convent of Saint-Etienne, the Carmes, the Grands Carmes, the Carmes déchaussés (barefoot Carmelites), the Convent of the Sacred Cross, the Convent of the Sacred Trinity and numerous others. These were all Catholic orders, since Toulouse was a stronghold of Catholicism in the sixteenth century, unlike other parts of southern France where heresy and even Calvinism were widespread.

    At the time of the French Revolution in 1789 the Augustinian order was dissolved, as were most religious orders, and in 1795 a provisional art museum was opened in the Augustinian Church. For this reason, Toulouse claims to have one of the oldest public art museums in France, since it was opened shortly after the Louvre in Paris.

    (But both the Louvre in Paris and the Augustins Museum in Toulouse are a century younger than the Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology in Besançon, which was opened to the public in 1694.)

    Second photo: The museum poster by the entrance to the Augustins.

    Third photo: Gargoyles howling at the moon.

    Fourth photo: The courtyard of the Augustins.

    Fifth photo: The tower of the Augustins.

    Address: 21 rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse
    Directions: VélÔToulouse station 10
    Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: 05 61 22 21 82
    Website: http://www.augustins.org/
    Book: Robert Alan Schneider, Public Life in Toulouse, 1463-1789: From Municipal Republic to Cosmopolitan City

    Next: Exhibits at the Museum of the Augustins

    Entrance to Les Augustins Museum poster Gargoyles Courtyard Tower of the Augustins
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    Exhibits at the Museum of the Augustins

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 15, 2015

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    One of the highlights of the Museum of the Augustins is “The Red Room”, where French paintings from the nineteenth century “are exhibited in the type of space that was contemporary to the works themselves.”

    The museum’s website explains that this “vast hall with its glass roof, the splendid Pompeiian red of its exhibition panels, the black lacquer of the panelling and above all, the hanging of the frames in several rows, all reconstitute an extremely dense mode of contemplation of the works. Visitors to the Salon, the grand annual exhibition of works by artists in the 19th century, were used to this type of hanging.”

    The main artistic trends of 19th century French art are represented here, from Neoclassicism to Realism, as well as paintings from the early 20th century, up to the beginning of the First World War in 1914.

    Second photo: In the museum there is a large display of epigraphs. I read that these epigraphs are “spread over the Carolingian period and up to the end of the Renaissance” and that they “give the identity of the deceased, the date of their death and often their social status.”

    The epitaphs are mostly written in medieval Latin, but some are in Occitan and a few in French. For those who can read these languages, the epitaphs “tell us about their patrons: clergy, lawyers, merchants, artisans, men or women, their professions as well as their hopes and beliefs...”

    Third photo: This sarcophagus “presents a very common 14th century decor showing the soul of the deceased in the form of a naked child carried to Heaven by angels. Several works in the sacristy explore the same theme.”

    Fourth photo: Statue of the French King Henri IV above an elaborate doorway in the Augustins. The Latin inscription has something to do with the god Apollo and the goddess Minerva and with art and citizens’ rights – but perhaps someone who paid better attention in Latin class than I did can provide a proper translation.

    Address: 21 rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse
    Directions: VélÔToulouse station 10
    Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: 05 61 22 21 82
    Website: http://www.augustins.org/

    Next: Jorge Pardo in the Museum of the Augustins

    The Red Room Epigraphy Funerary bas-relief and epitaph Henri IV
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    Jorge Pardo in the Museum of the Augustins

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 15, 2015

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    This installation by the American artist Jorge Pardo has been prominently displayed on the ground floor of the Museum of the Augustins since May 2014. It is a new setting for the museum’s Romanesque art collections.

    The museum’s explanatory text (fifth photo) says that Pardo is “internationally renowned for his colourful work at the frontiers of art, design and architecture.”

    They describe his display at the Museum of the Augustins as being “an exercise in orchestration as much as a large-scale artwork”. They say that it “highlights the impossible neutrality of the museum context, revealing both what Jorge Pardo defines as a framing device and the complex weft of interactions binding it to the Romanesque sculptures of the museum’s collection.”

    The word weft is their translation for the French word tissu. I later looked up weft and found out that it was another word for woof, which in this case is a term from weaving (not the noise a dog makes) meaning a thread that goes from left to right or right to left rather than up and down.

    My first impression was that this colorful installation was distracting my attention from the Romanesque sculptures that were on display on top of the pillars, but after a few minutes – of getting acclimatized, I suppose – I found that I really was examining the sculptures (as in the second photo) in more detail that I did with a lot of the other artworks in other rooms of the museum.

    Address: 21 rue de Metz, 31000 Toulouse
    Directions: VélÔToulouse station 10
    Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Phone: 05 61 22 21 82
    Website: http://www.augustins.org/

    Next: Toulousian atmospheres

    Installation by Jorge Pardo One of the Romanesque sculptures Installation by Jorge Pardo Jorge Pardo text
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    AUGUSTINS Museum

    by breughel Updated Nov 24, 2013

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    In my opinion this is the best museum in Toulouse.
    The works of art are presented in the sumptuous setting of the church and the chapter houses of the old Augustins convent. The visit begin with the beautiful cloister on which opens the room with the Romance sculptures and the collection of capitals, then the room of the Gothic sculptures, with an admirable whole of polychrome statues. Next is the church with large size paintings primarily French of 15th to the 17th century and statues of terra cotta.

    On the upper floor there are three rooms with paintings mainly French of the 17th to the 20th century. These are exposed in the old manner, on two or three lines in height.
    This is a deliberate choice which respects the old manner to present paintings in high ceiled rooms (same principle than with the museum of Fine Art of Lille) but which obliges the visitor to move repeatedly towards the wall to read the label and then to move back, without hustling the other visitors, to see the paintings of the upper line at 5 - 6 m high.

    The monumental Darcy's staircase shows nice sculptures from the 19th century.

    Open every day: 10 - 18 h, on Wednesday 21 h. Closed 1 May.
    Price: 6€, 4€ students, free 18yr.

    Cloister terra cotta Darcy's staircase
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    Musee des Augustins

    by gwened Written Jun 26, 2013

    The museum of les Augustins,one of the first museums done after the decree of 1792 during the French revolution, a huge amount of potraits of France and Europe, sculptures from Roman times to gothic, wonderful place.

    Open every day from 10h to 18h, nights on wednesdays until 21h. December 24 and 31 open 10h to 17h Closed Jan 1, May 1, and Dec 25
    Admission is 4€ adults

    One of the highlights of your visit to Toulouse.

    entrance museum des augustins the side musee des augustins display of museum along rue de Metz small cloister or petit clo��tre inside
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    The Buildings

    by hquittner Updated Aug 20, 2009

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    Our visit to the Museum of the Augustins was by chance, at night, when the museum was closed! Just before 8PM on our last night in Toulouse, we learned that the final concert, baroque chamber music, of the September Piano Festival was being held at the museum. We tried to get there in time but when we arrived, the outside was dark but the door was open. We entered the dimly lit buildings and followed the sound of the music (Bach’s D-minor Harpsichord Concerto). There were no guards or other persons visible and the door to the concert room (the church nave?) was locked. We looked around, shile soaking up the sound , and saw statues and a magnificent stairway (designed by Darcy who remodelled the monastery museum along with Viollet-le-Duc). We activated our camcorder and captured the eerie scene. No doors opened after the first movement and we became uneasy,. We were forigners in a closed museum. We timidly made our way back to where we had entered and went on to dinner at the Place Wilson. These “night shots” and the next Tip are what we saw, but do not do justice to this fine collection.

    Outside the Museum (at night) The Entry Door Below The Darcy Staircase View of Belfry from Cloister (at night) The Belfry in the Daylight
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    Interior Views

    by hquittner Written Aug 20, 2009

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    It was too dark to read the labels on the works and we dared not enter the closed rooms. We could only imagine the wealth of Romanesque (and Gothic) sculpture salvaged from now gone church buildings (after all Toulouse is where modern European Art as sculpture started).What we did see was much more recent than that, except for the Hall of Gargoyles in the Cloister (Gargoyles became obsolete when lead drainpipes appeared in the 16C).

    Gargoyles in a Cloister gallery Nudes in a Dark Hall Nudes On Descending a Staircase Rodin? Redecorated Support Column
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    Beautiful Art, Exquisite Building

    by mikey_e Written Dec 13, 2008

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    The Musée des Augustines is one of those incredible museums that you will likely remember far more for the building than for the collection. Actually, the collection is heavily skewed towards religious works from the Middle Ages and includes huge numbers of sculptures (I've forgotten the proper technical term) at the top of pillars in Romanesque churches in Languedoc. Some of the paintings and sculptures are quite impressive, but I don't believe that the Musée holds anything that would be classified as "must see" for anyone not especially interested in artwork from the Middle Ages. The building, by contrast, is definitely must-see. The Musée is housed in an old Augustine convent, and the building has been exquisitely preserved in order to create an atmosphere of timelessness. Visitors are permitted to wander the interior courtyard (the rooms of the convent are used as exhibit spaces and not exhibits in themselves). The Musée's curators have retained the tradition of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs in the courtyard, and depending on the time of year you visit, this can be quite the treat. It is also a boon for those learning French: what better way to learn that a pumpkin is called citrouille in French than by seeing it on the sign beside the actual squash?

    Mus��e des Augustines The interior courtyard Bell tower and foliage Fountain as you pass from one hall to another The garden
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    Augustins Museum of Art in Toulouse

    by mickli Written Nov 2, 2008

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    Since 1793, the Augustins museum, seated at the historical heart of the city in a remarkable convent building characteristic of the southern gothic style, has been home to collections of paintings and sculptures dating from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century.

    The variety and richness of the works highlight the most important movements in the history of western art. Particularly rich in sculptures, the Augustins museum owns a unique collection of romanesque sculptures and has an equally superb ensemble of masterpieces representing southern gothic sculpture as well as numerous 19th century sculptures, representative of the vitality of artistic life in Toulouse.

    The painting collections, on a par with the great museums of France, expanded around an initial core of paintings that consisted of works confiscated during the revolution and those sent by the state, and have been enriched ever since. Alongside the masterpieces of the French and European schools of the 16th to the 18th centuries (Perugino, Guerchin, Rubens, Van Dyck, Tournier, Jouvenet, Bourdon, etc.), the museum displays a superb 19th century collection: Hennequin, Delacroix, Ingres, Corot, Courbet, Laurens, Constant.

    Opening hours: daily from 10am to 6pm.
    Entry fee: 3 euros

    Gothic sculpture The church
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    Musée des Augustins

    by breughel Updated Feb 12, 2007

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    C'est à mon avis le plus beau musée de Toulouse à la fois par les bâtiments conventuels qui l'abritent et par les collections. L'ensemble monastique est magnifique. La visite débute par le beau cloître (photo n°1) sur lequel s'ouvrent la salle de sculpture romane avec sa collection de chapiteaux (n°2), la salle des sculptures gothiques, admirable ensemble de statues polychromes (photos 3 & 4), ainsi que l'église avec ses tableaux grand format essentiellement français du XVe au XVIIe siècle et statues en terre cuite (n°5).
    A l'étage il y a trois salons avec des tableaux majoritairement français et toulousains du XVIIe au XXe siècle. Les tableaux sont exposés à la façon ancienne, volontairement selon le conservateur, sur deux ou trois rangées en hauteur. C'est un choix qui respecte la façon ancienne de présenter des tableaux dans des salles hautes de plafond (même principe qu'au musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille) mais qui oblige le visiteur à un incessant mouvement vers le mur pour lire l'étiquette et ensuite à reculer, sans bousculer les autres visiteurs, pour voir les tableaux de la rangée supérieure à 5 - 6 m de hauteur.
    L'escalier monumental Darcy présente quelques belles sculptures du XIXe.

    The best museum in Toulouse. Quite remarkable for its gothic and roman sculptures.

    Clo��tre des Augustins Salle des chapiteaux Moniale Notre-Dame de Grasse Noble
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    Magical Museum

    by Spincat Updated May 26, 2006

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    Musee des Augustins is a gothic structure built around two old cloisters from a priory, one of them enclosing a parterre : a pretty tapestry of herbs, vegtables and fragrant trees. The place has a strange layout, like a magic palace: big heavy wooden doors that suddenly open onto vast halls of gothic sculpture - or open onto nothing at all!

    The paintings and sculpture date from the middle ages to the early 20th century, but with a particularly fine collection of romanesque sculpture and gothic sculpture..

    Some of the painters whose work is on display : Rubens, Van Dyck, Delacroix, Ingres, Corot, Courbet.

    One of the best and cheapest museums in Toulouse... and great fun!
    €2.20 as of Nov 2004
    Closed Tuesday. Open 10am to 6pm Mondays and Thurs- Sun; Open Weds 10am to 9pm. But check this on their website below.

    Musee des Augustins
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    Musée des Augustins

    by basbed23 Written Mar 3, 2005

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    The Augustins Museum is quite possibly Toulouse's most impressive museum. Originally a monastery built in the 14th century, the Augustine was converted to a museum in 1793, around the same time the Louvre was established.

    This is one of the statues that calls the Augustins Museum its home. It is called "The Nighmare." There are around 4000 pieces of art that can be found in this museum and should be a top priority when in Toulouse.

    click on picture to enlarge

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