La Fondation Calvet is an art foundation in Avignon, named for Esprit Calvet, who left his collections and library to it in 1810. The foundation maintains several museums and a two libraries, with support from the town. The original legacies of paintings, archaeological items, coins and medals, and medieval sculpture have been added to by many other legacies, and a significant deposit of works of art from the Louvre. The archaeological collections and medieval sculpture are now housed separately in the 'Musée Lapidaire' - once the chapel of the Jesuit College. The main museum is in an 18th-century city mansion, to which modern buildings have been added; the Library bequeathed by Calvet, and the important collection of over 12,000 coins and medals, have moved to a different location in the city.

In Avignon there are six museums:

  • Bibliothèque Calvet, the main library, housed since 1986 in part of what was once a cardinal's palace, the Livrée Ceccano
  • Musée Calvet, the main art gallery, housed in an 18th-century city mansion (a hôtel particulier), the Hôtel de Villeneuve-Martignan
  • Médaillier Calvet, a collection of coins and medals
  • Musée Lapidaire, a collection of sculptures and archeological finds, housed in what was once the chapel of a Jesuit college
  • Museum et Bibliothèque Requien, a natural history museum
  • Musée du Petit Palais, a collection of medieval and renaissance paintings
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Category: Museums in France

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Willie Drouhet (12 months ago)
Varied and large collection, interesting explanations. Explanations could be generalized for all exhibited pieces.
James (13 months ago)
We came upon this museum in early March, 2020, just as COVID was making itself known. As a result, we virtually had the museum to ourselves. Plus it was raining. We thoroughly enjoyed this smallish museum, just casually strolling through on a rainy day in Avignon and getting a pastry afterwards. Does life get better than that? Also had a beautiful courtyard, good for a picture or two. Admission was free.
Yair Bar Zohar (2 years ago)
The Calva Museum is an impressive museum, located within an 18th-century mansion. The museum presents an impressive collection, which includes a wide range of items related to various subjects, including archeology, art and anthropology. In the museum's art display you will find works of various kinds - sculptures, illustrations, paintings, Islamic art, Egyptian art and even prehistoric art. Audio guides can be hired at the museum entrance. Admission is reasonable. Children 12 and under come in for free. Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 13:00, 14:00 to 18:00. How long should you visit? Between one and two hours.
Sam Allmark (2 years ago)
I was completely taken aback by the size of this collection considering that it is a free museum. From statuary, to a broad range of paintings and even a small Egyptian collection. Some of the setups are a little unfortunate (some of the lights reflect on the paintings making it difficult to see some of the finer detail). However the whole experience make this well worthwhile. And the building it is all housed in is exceptional.
G L Littleton (2 years ago)
Okay I was wandering and found it. The fact that it was FREE sealed the choice. I arrived after 14:00 when it reopened. There was an old man sleeping at the door. I was the only person here for about 15 minutes. It would get crowded only occasionally. They had over 700 works of art. Paintings, sculptures, 3D pieces. Also photographs are allowed. I did notice some of the paintings have holes in them. When I inquired about them they said insects. I wonder if they have stopped the infestation?
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Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

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After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

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In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.