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.
Fortunately, the arrival at the museum of the collections of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture of Toulouse (l'Académie Royale de peinture et de sculpture de Toulouse) in 1795 means we can now admire the work of three of the greatest French sculptors of this period: Lemoyne, Pajou and Houdon. It is remarkable that artists successful in Paris should have applied to become members of the Academy of Toulouse by sending reception pieces (‘morceaux de reception') henceforth kept at the museum.
The Society of Fine Arts (société des Beaux-arts) founded in 1726 by a small group of passionate art-lovers to promote the arts in Toulouse, was officially named a Royal Academy by letters patent from Louis XV in 1750. The drawing school, which was free, was headed by a painter appointed by the city. Most Toulousan artists of the following generations were taught at the Academy.