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The museum

The Creation of the Museum

With the French Revolution, the convent becomes a museum

Vue du musée au XIXème siècle - Archives musée des Augustins
© Vue du musée au XIXème siècle - Archives musée des Augustins

The convent was recognised as an Asset of the Nation by decree on 2nd November 1789. The great refectory was sold to citizen Verdier who turned it into... stables!

A groupe of art lovers including many professors from the Académie Royale de peinture et de sculpture (The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture), lobbied until they obtained the opening of a museum to protect Toulousan masterpieces from the mob justice of the revolutionaries and more particularly to protect them from pillaging. In 1793, the Conseil Départemental (Borough Council) decided to create the Provisional Museum of the South of the Republic, which opened its doors in 1795 in the church of the Augustines. Thus, Toulouse possesses one of the oldest museums in France, opened only a short time after the Louvre in Paris.

In 1804, The School of the Arts moved into the south and east wings of the great cloister and into the small cloister. From 1805 to 1828, the small chapels leading off from the Gothic rooms (rue des Arts) were destroyed (except the Chapel of Saint Gabriel which was used for latrines by the School of the Arts...). From as early as 1818, certain galleries of the great cloister were adapted to exhibit artworks.
In 1823, Virebent, the architect, knocked the three Gothic rooms into a single gallery to house the Antique collection (today found in the Musée Saint-Raymond) which were to serve as models for the pupils at the School of the Arts.


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