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by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
March 14, 2005
Musee des Beaux-Arts - Located on the second floor of the Palais Rohan, the Fine Arts Museum is very understated in terms of advertising or fancy displays. Instead the contents speak for themselves. Room after room is filled with paintings from the 14th to the 19th century including works by Memling, Botticelli, Raphael, Goya and more.
It also hosts temporary exhibits and during my visit I was entertained with Homme animal, a satirical look at the similarities in traits and characteristics between man and animals. Humorous cartoons, political satire and oil paintings were used to get the point across. One of the most interesting displays was a set of drawings by Andre Legrand (1619-90) comparing facial characteristics of man with hawk, cow, donkey and cat.
Musee Archeologique is located in the basement of Palais Rohan, a fitting place since the museum deals with the foundations of Strasbourg and the Alsace. Several million years of Alsacian history, from 600,000 BC to 800 AD are featured in 21 rooms. All the objects on display were discovered in Alsace starting with primitive tools dating from 600,000 BC. Large poster boards in English and French provide an overview of displays in each room but the individual objects are only labeled in French. Most of the rooms dealt with the Gallo Roman period from the 1st to 5th century AD. During this time, the Romans constructed roads along the Rhine, the River Ill and the foothills of the Vosges. Finds from the Roman camps included pottery, glasswork, tools and horns. Jewellery from The Donon, a large sanctuary to the solar god Mithra was displayed as well as sculptures and funerary chariots. One of the more interesting displays was the skeletal remains in clear glass cases embedded in the museum floor – macabre but effective!
From journal Strasbourg's Dual Citizenship
Riverview, New Brunswick
April 10, 2004
The Palais de Rohan, finished in 1742, is a beautiful building in its own right. Originally the home of Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan, it contains three museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts and a Museum of Archaeology. We chose to visit the first two. The winding staircase to the Fine Arts Museum is now an austere white, as are the galleries. They only hint at the beauty that must have existed here 250 years ago. The galleries are, however, beautifully lit to highlight an extremely nice collection.
The arrangement here is thematic. There are rooms filled with nothing but still-lifes, others with Madonnas, collections of the Dutch school, and yet others with Romantic works. All in all, well presented. The Museum of Decorative Arts shows what the palace might have looked like at one time. Its presentation is 18th century and features the bedrooms of Louis XV and Napoleon I. Each room provides a vignette of 18th-century life for the upper classes – a wonderful library, a chapel and a surfeit of wonderful mouldings in plaster and wood.
Next door is the Musee de l’Oeuvres Notre Dame. It is filled with the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was worth seeing the building for itself… particularly the winding stone staircase – very attractive. The sculpted works tend to be religious and many of them well-weathered, having come from the cathedral across the street. Most interesting for us were the 17th-century armoires and several medieval chests.
From journal Wandering in Alsace