Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans
|Location||1 rue Fernand Rabier|
45 000 Orléans
|Visitors||51 331 (2012)|
Founded in 1797, it is one of France's oldest provincial museums. Its collections cover European arts from the 15th to 20th century.
The museum owns circa 2,000 paintings (with paintings by Correggio, Annibale Carracci, Guido Reni, Sebastiano Ricci, Diego Velázquez, Anthony van Dyck, Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, Hubert Robert, Eugène Delacroix (Head of a Woman), Gustave Courbet, Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso), 700 sculptures (Baccio Bandinelli, Auguste Rodin), more than 1,200 pieces of decorative arts, 10,000 drawings, 50,000 prints and the second largest collection of pastels in France after that of the Louvre.
The museum was founded during the French Revolution by the initiative of Jean Bardin, director of the school of drawing of the city and of Aignan-Thomas Desfriches, in 1797. The museum was installed in the Palais épiscopal d'Orléans, an ancient college, in 1799. In 1804, the museum was closed and the collections were placed in the Jardin des plantes d’Orléans.
The museum was reopened on December 30, 1823, by the initiative of the count and mayor of Rocheplatte and the count of Bizemont-Prunelé, André Gaspard Parfait, who eventually becomes the director of the museum. The museum was then installed in l’hôtel des Créneaux.
In 1855, the historical collections were separated from the art collections to form the Musée Historique et Archéologique de l’Orléanais, which moved into the Hotel Cabu. Several donators contributed to the enrichment of the collections of the museum during the 19th century, among which the madame of Limay, the daughter of Aignan-Thomas Desfriches, Eudoxe Marcille, and artists such as Henry de Triqueti and Léon Cogniet.
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