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Path: Photos > Museums > Amiens: Musée de Picardie
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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.

Binding plate of a manuscript in ivory (Reims, around 870 AD) featuring scenes of the life of Saint Remigius, bishop of Reims and the two different legends of the <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Ampulla#Legend_of_the_Baptism_of_the_Moribund_Pagan">Holly Ampula</a>. In the upper tier a dying pagan asks Saint Remigius for baptism. Unfortunately there was no consecrated oil available, so Remigius ordered two empty vials to be placed on an altar and as he prayed they miraculously filled with the consecrated oil; this is the scene shown in the middle tier. The lower tier depicts the baptism of <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_I">Clovis I</a> by Saint Remigius: the dove of the Holy Spirit delivers the consecrated oil directly from Heaven thus underlying the divinity of the King of France.
Capital of Adam and Eva from the abbey of Corbie, 12th century. Statue of a king of Judea taken from the central portal of the west front of the cathedral in Amiens (around 1225). Crosier of a bishop showing Saint Michael fighting the dragon (around 1210-1220) Medieval Christ on the Cross from the 13th century. It is made of copper covered with enamel and inlaid with precious stones. French ivory plate from the 14th century. Statue from the 15th century. <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nottingham_alabaster">Nottingham Alabaster carving</a>  found in the church of Conty south-west of Amiens. This piece shows a man collecting the blood coming out of Jesus' wound. One example of wood carving as found on many church furnishings around Amiens. L’ingénue ou la jeune fille à l'escargot by Louis Desprez (1799—1870). Salem, Nègre du Soudan by Paul Loiseau-Rousseau (1861-1927) Detail of a medieval painting. Detail of an Italian painting. Maître d'Amiens, Puy called “Pré ministrant pasture salutaire”, 1519. Maître d'Amiens, Detail of the Puy called “Au juste poids véritable balance”, 1518. Portrait of a Man by <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Greco">El Greco</a> (1541-1614). Head of an Old Man by <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Honor%C3%A9_Fragonard">Jean-Honoré Fragonard</a> (1732-1806). Detail of Lady MacBeth by <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Louis_M%C3%BCller">Charles-Louis Müller</a> (1815-1892). L'insulte aux prisonniers, épisode de la croisade contre les Albigeois (Swearing at prisoners, episode of the <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade">Albigensian Crusade</a>). Painting by <a target="_blank"  href="https://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn16/weisberg-reviews-albert-maignan-decorateur-du-paris-fin-de-siecle">Albert Maignan</a> (1845-1908). La Muse Verte (The Green Fairy) by <a target="_blank"  href="https://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn16/weisberg-reviews-albert-maignan-decorateur-du-paris-fin-de-siecle">Albert Maignan</a> (1845-1908). This picture depicts the <a target="_blank"  href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe">green fairy or absinthe</a>, as a powerful seductress leading the artist (a poet) to succumb and lose his art, as shown by the papers on the floor. Detail of La Muse Verte by <a target="_blank"  href="https://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn16/weisberg-reviews-albert-maignan-decorateur-du-paris-fin-de-siecle">Albert Maignan</a>. Les Voix du Tocsin (The Voices of the Warning Bell) by <a target="_blank"  href="https://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn16/weisberg-reviews-albert-maignan-decorateur-du-paris-fin-de-siecle">Albert Maignan</a> (1845-1908).

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$updated from: Museums.htxt Mon 03 May 2021 16:08:34 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$