Last Friday in Valenciennes, between first and last performances, a slow start to the day, so it’s off the Museums for Frances. There’s probably more than one museum or gallery in this somewhere between town and small city—something of a Ballarat or Bendigo, and wedged in the busy area along the border with Belgium—I was there for, what else? mediæval art.
After the Louvre, which I’m still working on editing images, I was wondering where could I go after that in museums? Once you’ve had a 500 metre track of Italian art and nine hours of wearing shoes out, there’s not really an ‘up’ from there, Maybe the Rijksmuseum, possibly something in London or New York or Italy, but comprehensive endurance feats of the Louvre kind are as rare as a Rubens in Australia.
Small, regional museum in north-west France turned out to be the answer. It’s not big, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes, a main atrium with quartets of salles on either side, braced in turn by the large halls, getting through art history from 15th to 20th centuries in those spaces, most of it being somewhat regional—local artists who contributed to the French, Flemish, and Dutch scenes, and works from those scenes.
A hangover from my Louvre feat is I was kinda trigger happy with camera, and was also trying to comprehend how to blog the equivalent of three or four museums, so opted for splitting things up. This is the introduction; here’s the art, split into left and right wings and the atrium:
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes — 1: salles XVe–XVIIIe, & salle Rubens
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes — 2: Rotonda & salon Carpeaux
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes — 3: XVIIIe-XXe salles & L’exposition temporaire