Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie de Besançon  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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.


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

  • Archaeology
    • The egyptian collection includes the mummies of Seramon, a royal scribe who lived in the end of the 21rst 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.

Origin of the collections

The collections of the museum are mostly the product of 4 donations. In 1694, the Boisot abbot gave his collection (manuscripts, printed books, medals, 11 paintings and 4 busts coming from the Granvelle family) to the Benidictins of the town, under the condition that these collections be open to public eyes twice a week. This "Boisot library-museum" was visited during the 18th century. In 1819 Pierre-Adrien Pâris, the King's architect, offers his collection (38 paintings, 183 drawings including those of Fragonard). Then Jean Gigoux offers his collection in 1894 (over 3000 drawings and 460 paintings of Spanish, English, Northern and German schools), and finally the last donation comes from George Besson and his wife in 1960 (112 paintings, 220 drawings of the modern and contemporary periods).


Since 1843, the museum is located in a former grain hall, in the center of the town. The building became too smal 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.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie de Besançon" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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