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Sculptures 17th – 18th centuries

Marc Arcis, Le Prophète Elisée (détail) vers 1690, terre cuite, Inv. Ra 879 B
© Marc Arcis, Le Prophète Elisée (détail) vers 1690, terre cuite, Inv. Ra 879 B

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.


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The collections

The 17th century

Marc Arcis remains the most interesting sculptor of this period. Born in 1652 in the Tarn, taught by Rivalz, the great painter of the Toulousan 17th century, he then left for Versailles to perfect his art before returning to pursue his career here in his own...

The 18th century

18th century sculpture is somewhat of a poor relation at the Musée des Augustins, because of a lack of space but also because both the previous and the following centuries are infintely richer for Toulousan sculpture.

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