Amiens: Musée de Picardie
If you have time, this museum in Amiens is not to be missed. It has been extensively renovated and re-opened in March 2020 with bright rooms decorated in warm colours and an excellent presentation of the various works of art. It is spacious and not overloaded with exhibits and the items presented are well lit with good descriptions (mostly in French). Its collections are divided in four sections: Antiquity (which we did not visit), Medieval Times, Sculptures and Paintings.
Many works of art come from the cathedral and one peculiarity of the painting collection in Amiens are the so-called “Puys”. The Confrérie du Puy Notre-Dame d'Amiens was a brotherhood of laymen which was created in 1388 to honour the Virgin Mary. It had ceased most of its activities by 1729 and finally disappeared completely during the French Revolution. The Confrérie played an important role in the social life of the late middle ages, organising religious festivals as well as literary contests. A new master was elected every year at Candlemas and he had the privilege of setting the motto of the yearly literary contest by choosing a verse of ten syllables which was to be used as a refrain in the poems of that year. The winner was crowned on All Saints Day and the master's next task was then to order a painting illustrating the winning poem, its title being the original ten syllables verse (like “Pré ministrant pasture salutaire”, the title of our photo number 14). The painting was then hung in the cathedral on X-Mas day and stayed there for a year until it was replaced by a new one. Those paintings were called Puys, Puy being the word for stage in Old French, the stage where the contestants declaimed their poems. In 1493 it was decided to keep the Puy of the previous year exhibited a bit further away in the cathedral instead of giving it away. Unfortunately, in 1723, there were so many that the canons of the cathedral decided to get rid of most of them, keeping only a few. Ten of them are now exhibited in the museum.
$updated from: Museums.htxt Mon 03 May 2021 16:08:34 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$