The Musée Matisse in Nice is a national museum devoted to the work of French painter Henri Matisse. It gathers one of the world's largest collections of his works, tracing his artistic beginnings and his evolution through his last works. The museum, which opened in 1963, is located in the Villa des Arènes.
The Villa des Arènes was constructed from 1670 to 1685. Upon its completion, it was named the Gubernatis palace after its sponsor and owner, Jean-Baptiste Gubernatis, then consul in Nice. The villa took its current name in 1950, when the City of Nice, anxious to preserve it, bought it from a real estate company.
The museum was created in 1963 and occupied the first floor of the villa, the ground floor being then occupied by a museum of archaeology. In 1989, the archaeological museum was moved to the nearby ancient site of the city, allowing the Musée Matisse to be expanded. It was closed for four years during renovations, and reopened in 1993. With a new modern wing as well as renovated spaces, the museum could exhibit its entire permanent collection, which has continued to increase since 1963 through several successive acquisitions and donations.
The museum's permanent collection is made up of a variety of donations, primarily those of Matisse himself, who lived and worked in Nice from 1917 to 1954, and those of his heirs, as well as works contributed by the State.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.