During the 16th century, Toulouse was a land of predilection for humanism. Having always stayed close to its ancient past, at this point the city happily revived this Antique culture which had never really disappeared. Research and study of ancient texts, literature, printing, the humanities or natural sciences, every field of knowledge was explored.
In art, Italian Renaissance stylistic characters were gradually introduced, after the first inroads made by purely ornamental motifs such as candelabras, putti, acanthus leaves or water leaves… Thereafter came a more slender canon, Antique style architecture and clothes, an attraction to the nude and to subjects from Antiquity…
Attribué à Nicolas Bachelier,
Mise au tombeau,
XVIe s., pierre. Inv. Ra 847
Particular note must be taken of Nicolas Bachelier. He was active mid-16th century and the museum owns just a few of his sculptures. His biography remains incomplete and there was a time when everything done in Toulouse was attributed to him. He was an architect and sculptor, at the head of a large workshop. Specialists are now making progress on the knowledge of this period.
It seems that non-Toulousan artists set up shop easily in the city to meet orders from parliamentarians or merchants rich from the woad trade, still flourishing at the time. The sumptuous private houses which belonged to these rich people are still visible today in the heart of the city centre. Many works were carried out at the request of the Capitouls (the governors of Toulouse) for the city of Toulouse. Their archives occasionally offer precious indications about this rich and plentiful period.