Sculptures 17th – 18th centuries
Travellers often marvelled at the sumptuous carved decor of Toulousan churches in the 17th and 18th centuries. Although many decors have since been lost, those that remain are proof of the development of a local school of wood, clay and stone carving.
The statuary tradition was alive and well in the 17th century in Toulouse. Evidence of that vitality lies in the series of busts by Marc Arcis commissioned for the Capitole in Toulouse, the great Baroque compositions by Gervais Drouet or Ambroise Frédeau, an Augustine monk who was both painter and sculptor. The 18th century in Toulouse has been called a golden age for sculpture, even though the political, social and religious context was fraught with reforms, crises and turmoil. The remarkable Prophets by Marc Arcis are proof of that; commissioned by Vandages de Malapeire for the chapel of Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, today they are exhibited in the church.
Similarly, 18th century sculpture is all too rare in the current presentation of the museum. The collection does however include a good set of sculptures by the Lucas, Toulousan artists, as well as the works of Houdon, Lemoyne and Pajou which are in the permanent exhibition.