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Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is located in Lille
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
Location within Lille
Established 1809
Location Place de la République, 59000 Lille, France
Type Art gallery
Visitors 239,975 (2007)
Director Bruno Girveau

The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille (Lille Palace of Fine Arts) is one of the largest museums in France, and the largest French museum outside of Paris.

It was one of the first museums built in France, established under the instructions of Napoleon I at the beginning of the 19th century as part of the popularisation of art : Jean-Antoine Chaptal's decree of 1801 selected fifteen French cities (among which Lille) to receive the works seized from churches and from the territories occupied by the armies of Revolutionary France. The painters Louis Joseph Watteau and François Watteau, known as the "Watteau of Lille", were heavily involved in the museum's beginnings - Louis Joseph Watteau made in 1795 the first inventory of the paintings confiscated during the Revolution, whilst his son François was deputy curator of the museum from 1808 to 1823.

The museum opened in 1809 and was initially housed in a church confiscated from the Récollets before being transferred to the city's town hall. In 1866, the "musée Wicar", formed from the collection of Jean-Baptiste Wicar, was merged into the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Construction of the Palais's current Belle Époque-style building began in 1885 under the direction of Géry Legrand, mayor of Lille, and it was completed in 1892. The architects chosen to design the new building were Edouard Bérard (1843–1912) and Fernand Etienne-Charles Delmas (1852–1933) from Paris. The building is located on the place de la République, in the center of the city, facing the préfecture of Lille. It was renovated during the 1990s and reopened in 1997.

At the start of the 1990s, the building's poor state and the moving of Vauban's relief models of fortified towns to Lille forced the town to renovate the building. Work began in 1991, under the architects Jean-Marc Ibos and Myrto Vitart, and was completed in 1997. This allowed the creation of a new 700 m² basement room for temporary exhibitions, as well as departments for the relief models and for 19th-century sculpture. Overall the museum covers 22000 m², the second largest collection in France after the Louvre. Its sculptures, paintings, drawings, ceramics and so on include works by Raphael, Donatello, Van Dyck, Tissot, Jordaens, Rembrandt, Goya, El Greco, David, Corot, Courbet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Delacroix, Rubens, Rodin, Claudel and Jean-Baptiste Chardin.


  • Collections 1
    • Antiquities, Middle Ages and Renaissance 1.1
    • 17th-century paintings 1.2
    • 18th- and 19th-century paintings 1.3
    • 20th-century paintings 1.4
    • Sculptures 1.5
    • Prints and drawings 1.6
    • Collection of "plans-reliefs" 1.7
  • Gallery 2
  • Curator, director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts 3
  • Expositions temporaires 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6


Antiquities, Middle Ages and Renaissance

Ascension of the Elect by Dirk Bouts.

17th-century paintings

Descent from the Cross by Rubens
The Liberality of the King by Jan van den Hoecke - Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens.
The Providence of the King by Jan van den Hoecke - Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens.
Allegory of worldly vanities by Pieter Boel

18th- and 19th-century paintings

The Kiss by Carolus-Duran
The Birth of Venus by Amaury Duval

20th-century paintings


Prints and drawings

  • Preparatory drawing for the "Alba Madonna". Seated man wearing a shirt, bare arms., Raphael (c 1511)

Collection of "plans-reliefs"

Plan-relief of Ath


Curator, director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts

  • Bruno Girveau (present)
  • Alain Tapié
  • Arnaud Brejon de Lavergnée
  • Albert Châtelet

Expositions temporaires


  • Le Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille par Alain Tapié, Marie-Françoise Bouttemy, Annie Castier, et Dominique Delgrange aux éditions Réunion des musées nationaux, ISBN 2-7118-5222-9
  • Les Plans en relief des places fortes du Nord : dans les collections du Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille by Isabelle Warmoes, ISBN 2-85056-838-4
  • Catalogue des dessins italiens : Collection du Palais des beaux-arts de Lille, aux éditions Réunion des musées nationaux, ISBN 2-7118-3392-5

External links

  • Official site of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
  • Mayor of Lille
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