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Fine arts museum

Since 1869, the first floor of the Louis XII wing has hosted the museum of fine arts of the town of Blois. Presentation of the artworks is in fact unrelated to the apartments created for King Louis XII. A visit to today's museum is designed to complement a visit to the apartments of the François I wing, which present the Chateau's monarchical past and the life and times of the court.
Amongst the thousands of works donated by collectors and artists or acquired by the museum over the course of time, more than 300 of the more remarkable paintings, sculptures and sundry works of art are grouped and presented thematically.

History of the Fine arts museum

Enlarge the pictureIn 1850, the Blois authorities wished to showcase local culture and decided to create a museum of fine arts in the François I wing as an artistic pole of attraction.
No sooner had it opened, than the gifts and donations of artists or non-artists, consignments from the State and a miscellany of acquisitions were lodged in the museum. Collections grew so quickly and extensively that by 1851, more rooms had to be occupied. Only in 1869, following the rehabilitations carried out by Duban in the Louis XII wing, did the museum of fine arts find itself fully and definitively at home.

A masterpiece museum

Enlarge the pictureMajor works by famous artists (Ingres, Rubens, Boucher...) highlight the Chateau's collections, making it one of France's premier museums of fine arts.

A masterpiece circuit: Strategically showcased on panels in the middle of the exhibit rooms, there is no way a visitor can leave the museum without having discovered these first-class works.

From one theme to the next: An innovative scenography

Enlarge the pictureEach room in the museum is devoted to a single theme in the history of Western art, and the theme-based circuit, which eschews the usual chronological sequencing, is at once specific to the Blois Museum of Fine Arts, and a museographic innovation. Indeed, the museum offers a new way of viewing art history by grouping works from different epochs that were devoted to a given subject.

The major themes are detailed in explanatory panels; as for the works themselves, they are set in their context with detailed descriptions. Playful pedagogical panels for children serve as a supplementary study aid.
The Blois Museum of Fine Arts is a museum for persons of all ages, starting with the young.

Presentation of the collections

  • Enlarge the pictureThe Gallery is dedicated to the monumental collections (tapestries, sculptures...) frequently exhibited in the galleries of castles and museums.
  • The « Virgin with Infant » rooms elaborates on two subjects: art in Blois under Louis XII and the iconography of « Virgin with Infant », a major theme in religious art.
  • The Castle room dwells upon the decors of castles and the master residences of the 17th century, particularly in the Val de Loire region.
  • The History room takes up the representation of History (mythological, biblical or historical) from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Enlarge the picture
  • The Small Format room clarifies the notion of small-scale genres (landscapes, scenes from daily life) endowed with less prestige than the representation of History.
  • The Portrait room explores representations of the human being, with or without special vestment.
  • The Salon room details the career trajectory taken by a 19th-century artist, from his apprenticeship in the school of fine arts to the exhibition of his works in an official Salon.

The museum was recently expanded by the addition of two new rooms devoted to artistic activity in Blois, a major cultural center in the 19th century. Extracted for the first time from the museum's reserves, some of the works were expressly restored for this special occasion.

  • The Blois room presents the sources of inspiration for local artists: the Loire, the town and the Chateau.
  • The Gallery of Landscapes supplements the preceding room by focusing on the figures who left their imprint on the town and on the work of local artists or of those visiting the region: Ulysses Besnard, Eugene Gervais, the Halous... Here are the faces corresponding to the names of streets in the town. The gallery is also devoted to landscape painting, a genre that thrived over the second half of the 19th century.
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Musée des beaux-arts_galerie_Photo Daniel Lépissier 2014(48)

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Musée des beaux-arts_salle 3_Photo Daniel Lépissier 2014 (11)


In figures!

Approximately 35,000 objects have entered the collections since the 19th century.
1000 of them are permanently exhibited objects, including more than 300 works in the fine arts museum.