Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts

I took advantage of an otherwise quiet and chilly Monday to pop along to the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux) and am so glad that I did. It has a nice variety of art, across the centuries and various styles, so has a bit of something to suit most tastes.

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“The Act of Dedication made by Captain Desse of Bordeaux towards the Dutch Ship Columbus” by Theodore Gudin, Paris 1802.
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A closer view, showing some of the detail in this painting.

The museum’s website lists some of the themes of paintings that are on display. They include 15th & 16th century Renaissance; 17th century Caravaggesque, Flemish & Dutch; 17th and 18th century Italian & French; and 18th century English, German and Flemish paintings. This is why I hadn’t visited the museum sooner, as I tend to prefer the later painting styles such as Impressionism from the late 1800’s.

In addition to works from the permanent collection, the museum is currently featuring an exhibition on Landscapes (30 June 2017 to 7 January 2018). Rather than being housed in different wings, the paintings that form the exhibition are interspersed with those from the permanent collection. As with the permanent collection, the landscape exhibition features paintings from different centuries and styles.

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“View of Part of the Port and Docks at Bordeaux” by Pierre Lacour, 1804-1806

I’m pleased to say that the art that is currently on display includes examples of Impressionism, Naturalism, Cubism, Fauvism, Realism and more. So, I got to see some of the art forms that I prefer, but I also found myself enjoying some of the earlier pieces. For example, I was very impressed by the above painting by Gudin, which was one of my favourites in the museum.

Whilst they portray a dark part of European history, this pair of early 18th century paintings by Alessandro Magnasco show incredible detail.

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“Arrival and interrogation of the Galley Slaves at the prison in Genoa” by Alessandro Magnasco
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“Boarding of the Galley Slaves in the Port of Genoa” by Alessandro Magnasco

Some of the paintings on display are huge, with some taking up an entire wall.

 

Here is a selection of some other paintings that I particularly liked, including some by Renoir, Matisse and Henri Martin.

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The Wet Nurses by Louis Valtat, 1895
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“Moroccan Prisoners” by Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant, 1875
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The Souliot Women by Narcisse Diaz de la Pena, 1830

 

The museum was also exhibiting a selection of sketches and drawings in pencil and crayon by Daniel Dezeuze and Albert Marquet.

 

The museum’s exhibits are located in two wings of the building, separated by the Jardin Mairie. However, as part of the Landscape Exhibition, there is an installation of hanging ‘banners’ with landscape images that seeks to blend interior and exterior spaces and produce the third wing to connect the first two. At the time of my visit, the sun was casting long shadows across this installation, allowing me to take some interesting photos.

 

This is not a large museum, but its simple layout and variety of styles make it worth a visit for anyone with an interest in art.

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