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Aix-en-Provence archbishops palace and its tapestries

The palace | JM Campaner / CC-BY-SA
Museum Town house Archbishops palace in Aix-en-Provence

Bishops' palace

The first palace was raised in 1338 by Arnaud de Barchesio.

The Eastern wing raised by Robert Damiani dates back to 1447, the Northern wing founded by cardinal de Grimaldi to 1648, based on foundations of a gallery set up by cardinal Richelieu in 1624... Our current palace dates back to 1648.

King Charles IX came in October 1564, Catherine of Medici in June 1579, Louis XIII in November 1622 (twice): during this second visit, he said "In Arles, people welcomed me like a noblemen, in Marseille like a king, in Aix like a God"... Anne of Austria came in 1660 with Louis XIV and all the court.

The current museum

The palace was transformed into Tapestries museum. Oh, we’ve got real treasures! Those tapestries were hidden for a long time: we don’t know where they come from, but one thing is sure: they were made by Beauvais royal Workshop, founded in 1664...

The Grotesques

We have a first group of 6 tapestries: the Grotesques, based on drawings by painter Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, inspired by designer Bérain.

They were made in 1680 in orange tones and they were used as a theatre set.

Look at those details: we have lute players, dancers, flute and violin players, the offertory to Bacchus and to Hermes.

Do you notice these little people dressed with Italian clothes, like in Italian comedies? It’s not a coincidence! Bérain created theatre sets for Louis XIV...

Don Quixote

Then, story of Don Quixote, based on drawings by Natoire, between 1735 and 1745. It’s a unique copy, the only one left in the whole world! We had 10 tapestries, but one was lost.

A man called Pierre Griniod d’Orsay ordered these tapestries for one of his Parisian city house. Before the French Revolution, they were in the old Orsay castle, near Paris...

The Russian Games

Finally, we have the Russian Games (1770), based on drawings by painter Jean-Baptiste Leprince.

Russia was in fashion in the 18th century! So we have here country scenes with dancing Bohemians and birds nesters...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!