Musée de la Chartreuse de Douai

The Musée de la Chartreuse

The Musée de la Chartreuse is an art museum in a former Carthusian monastery in Douai, France. It is the 'musée des Beaux-Arts' for the city.


Interieur of the museum

Built by Jacques d'Abancourt in brick and stone in the Renaissance style, on the site of the house of the "Colombier", the hôtel d'Abancourt (1559) with its round tower was extended in 1608 by Jean de Montmorency, who added a square building in the same style with a square tower. In 1623 it was acquired by the Premonstratensians of Furnes. It finally saw itself become a home for Carthusian monks in the middle of the 17th century, via the construction of a chapter house and a small cloister (1663), a refectory (1687), the prior's lodgings (1690) and finally - after a large cloister and cells which were demolished in the 19th century - a chapel in the Jesuit style (not restored yet). On the French Revolution the building was turned over to military use and it was later damaged by bombing in 1944. It was bought by the city in 1951 and from 1958 was used to replace the buildings housing the city's musée des Beaux-Arts, which had been destroyed in the Second World War at the same time as the neighbouring boys' lycée.

The current museum complex includes several 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings. To its left is the hôtel d'Abancourt-Montmorency, built between 1559 and 1608 in the Flemish Renaissance style. Built in the classical style at the start of the 18th century, the complex's church is made up of a vast nave and five side chapels. After a six-year restoration campaign, this church was used to display objets d'art and sculptures to the public, with the 19th century sculptures in the nave and objets d'art in the side chapels, including medieval goldwork and a series of bronzes and terracottas by Giambologna, who was born in Douai.

The ancient convent is listed as a Monument historique since 1930 by the French Ministry of Culture.[1]



Permanent collections

Over 100 works are on show, chronologically retracing the evolution of European painting from the Middle Ages to modern art.

Works on show

Temporary exhibitions

The museum also organises temporary exhibitions, such as Douai, d'un siècle à l'autre (1999, presenting the plan for the reconstruction of Douai drawn up by the architects Alexandre Miniac and Petit, on the initiative of the Secretary of State for Reconstruction). Others include:

Catalogue : Au cirque, le peintre et le saltimbanque, collectif, Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai - Somogy Éditions d'Art, Paris (2004). ISBN 2-85056-736-1.

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  1. (French) French Ministry of Culture database entry
  2. (French) Page 122 - Lille : Le pays minier - La flandre maritime - Entre Scarpe et Escaut, published by Guide Vert Michelin - on Google Books

Coordinates: 50°22′29″N 3°4′32″E / 50.37472°N 3.07556°E / 50.37472; 3.07556

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