Saturday, September 6, 2014

France: Musee Departmental D'Art Ancien et Contemporain Epinal

This is a very modern building built from a very old one. It is located on an island in the middle of the Moselle River. The collection covers ancient to very modern works.
Their earliest exhibits are from the Paleolithic age and date to 9000 BC. This room includes objects of stone, glass and metal and dates through the Greco-Roman period. There is a serious problem for non-French readers in this museum; nothing is in English. They provided me with a very nice guide when I said I read French. I'm afraid though that my Mom never talked to me about ancient artifacts so I am lacking the vocabulary necessary for this area. It was frustrating for me and the men skipped this room altogether.
The next room was much more enjoyable. There was a wonderful Greco-Roman statue of a Hermaphrodite made of bronze and silver. It is small but perfectly formed. There were also stone carving and gravestones. What really got my attention in this area was a case of coins. There was a bronze coin with the head of Philip of Macedonia, coins with Nero, Trajan, Tiberius, and Vespusian. Also lots of coins with the Dukes of Lorraine and early French Kings. What was really great about this case was that it had a large magnifying glass that could travel anywhere over the top of the case so you could move it easily from coin to coin. Really a nice touch. I've never seen the detail before.
Next, we moved into the Middle Ages where we saw some beautiful stained glass windows from the Abbey of D'Autray. Also in this area is a gorgeous oil on panel from the school of Clouet called Adoratus. The subject is a beautiful woman with a pink flower in one hand and a small dog in the other. There is also a George de la Tour of Job and his wife. As usual, I was drawn to the cases of Faience. They had some particularly fine pieces.

Upstairs there is an eclectic array of paintings in no order I could figure out. Their Rembrandt was on loan, which was disappointing. I loved the two Jan Brueghel paintings of the seasons "Winter and Summer". There was also a Joos van Cleve of The Holy Family. I am not a fan of modern art but they have paintings by Andy Warhol and Picasso. They are, however, most famous for their print collection which is considered very fine. It is later prints mostly from the 19th and early 20th century and in color.
This museum is considered the 4th best art museum in France. It is a very relaxing place with strategic benches for sitting and looking and an open floor plan with fantastic lighting.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for lovely post! I loved the stained glass windows!
    I live in Malaga , Spain , where Picasso was born so I am always interested in his life and works too!