Display for the Musée des Augustins : exhibiting the romanesque capitals at the Musée des Augustins

CHAPTER 2 : EXHIBITING THE ROMANESQUE CAPITALS AT THE MUSEE DES AUGUSTINS / A HISTORY IN IMAGES

The history of the modes of presentation of the Romanesque capitals in the Musée des Augustins is as rich as the history of the museum itself. How does the time of the place encounter the time of the work ? The hypothesis here is that while these two parallel histories may alternately converge and contradict each other, they have always ended up cohabiting. The idea is the whow the terms of this arrangement – between the lines as it were.

The curator and architect are the two mediators of this relation. The architects, successively Urbain Vitry, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, Denis Darcy, Sylavin Popper and Yves Boiret, all embodies opposing visions. Some worked to preserve the integrity of a building that was originally a convent, while others argued in favour of the alterations need for its conservation. The result, in both cases, form of hybridization. Vitry based the organization of the museum on the building’s religious history : the cloister skilfully cohabits with the Temple of Arts. In contrast, the extension whose construction Darcy completed in the early nineteenth century could be seen as an exhibition space optimized in accordance with the principles of its day : natural overhead light, high ceilings, additional picture walls and an attempt to create a perspective wherein the whole of the collection could be taken in by a single gaze. But it also meant a fourth facade for the content, in counterpoint to the church, the chapel and the chapter room.

It was the changing setting that the important collection of Romanesque capitals had to find a place. Referring to a selection of engravings, paintings, architectural plans and photographw, this chapter is intented to show how, over two centuries, these different approaches have shaped a display structure for these works that has constantly been renewed.

Date :

2018

Édition - Collection :

Hatje Cantz

ISBN :

978-3-7757-4462-1