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The Museum was founded in 1793, during the French Revolution. Its creation was officially approved by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801 as part of his policy of establishing museums similar to the Louvre in the French provinces.
After being housed on several different sites in Nancy, the Museum finally settled in Place Stanislas in 1936. In 1999, major building work was carried out, renovating and extending the Museum and giving it its present appearance.
The visitors’ circuit was inspired by the diversity of architecture in the Museum buildings. At the same time, it highlights the town’s impressive cultural heritage.
The 18th C main entrance building was designed by the architect Emmanuel Héré. Both the start point and end point of the visit, it has been superbly restored, enhancing the visitor’s view of the peristyle and of the staircase with railings designed by Jean Lamour.
On the ground floor, visitors enter the wing built in 1936, where the tour starts with a collection of 19th C works. It continues in a distinctly modern extension that holds the Museum’s collections of modern and contemporary works.
On the lower ground floor, visitors can admire 15th, 16th and 17th C remains of the town’s fortifications. They have been included in the museographic circuit as fascinating records of the town’s history.
Finally, a chronological display of the Museum’s earlier collections can be found on the first and second floors.
Thanks to gifts, donations and loans, the Museum’s collections have grown constantly over the last two hundred years.
Works in the Museum provide an interesting view of art in Europe during the period running from the Renaissance to the end of the 18th C. It has an Italian section including works by Perugino, Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Ribera, a North European section with Van Hemessen, Rubens, Brueghel the Younger and Jordaens, and a French section with Vouet, Champaigne, Claude, Boucher, Coypel and Van Loo.
The 19th and 20th Cs are also especially well represented, with works from many of the different schools of French painting, in particular by Delacroix, Courbet, Doré, Manet, Monet, Cross, Dufy, Modigliani and Picasso. The Ecole de Nancy is one of the Museum’s most exhilarating high points and includes works by Friant and Prouvé.
The remarkable sculpture collection is built around works by Rodin, Maillol, Duchamp-Villon, Laurens, Lipchitz and Zadkine.
The Graphic Arts Collection holds more than 20,000 drawings and prints, and mounts regular temporary exhibitions of works from the Callot, Grandville and Colin Collections. It has an outstanding collection of French 18th to 20th C drawings and engravings.
The Daum Glassware Collection, in a spectacular scenography, is truly unique. Some 400 items illustrate the full range of the Glassworks’ production, from the first items produced at the end of the 19th C to a number of highly contemporary works.
Listen to free audio samples of this tour exclusively on the Orpheotour website !
Caravaggio - The Annunciation
Pablo Picasso - Man and Woman
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