Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie de Besançon

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Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology

The Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie (Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology) in the French city of Besançon is the oldest public museum in France. It was set up in 1694, nearly a century before the Louvre became a public museum.

Collections[edit]

The collections of the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie de Besançon are divided in three categories: archaeology, painting, and drawing cabinet.

Archaeology[edit]

Three-horned bull called the "Bull of Avrigney." Discovered in 1756. An example of Gallo-Roman religious art

(Kupfer-Legierung)

  • The Egyptian collection includes the mummies of Seramon, a royal scribe who lived in the end of the 21st Dynasty, and of Ankhpakhered, Amon's artist and son of a priest of the 26th Dynasty but also a series of statuettes representing gods, chaouabtis, etc.
  • An important prehistoric collection includes objects of the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age.
  • The most important archaeology collection belongs to the Gallo-Roman period, it includes mosaics (mosaïque du Neptune and mosaïque de la Méduse found in the domus of the collège Lumière), other objects found during digs in the town, and the bronze statue of a bull with three horns from Avrigney.
  • The medieval collection includes statues, stone sarcophagus and other relics.

Drawing cabinet[edit]

Painting[edit]

The collections shows the main tendencies and evolutions of European art from the 14th to 20th centuries:

Origin of the collections[edit]

The collections of the museum mostly originated in four gifts. In 1694, Abbot Boisot gave his collection (manuscripts, printed books, medals, eleven paintings and four busts coming from the Granvelle family) to the town's Benidictine monks, on the condition that the public had access to these collections twice a week. This bibliothèque-musée Boisot (Boisot Library-Museum) lasted for the whole of the 18th century. In 1819 Pierre-Adrien Pâris, the King's architect, added his collection (38 paintings and 183 drawings including those of Fragonard). Jean Gigoux gave the museum his collection in 1894 (over 3000 drawings and 460 paintings of Spanish, English, Northern and German schools), and finally George Besson and his wife gave the museum their collection in 1960 (112 paintings and 220 modern and contemporary drawings).

Building[edit]

Since 1843, the museum has been located in a former grain hall, in the center of the town. The building became too small following Besson's donation, it was rebuilt from 1967 to 1970 by Louis Miquel, a student of Le Corbusier. The interior courtyard was covered with a concrete structure.

Coordinates: 47°14′25″N 6°01′23″E / 47.2402°N 6.0231°E / 47.2402; 6.0231