L’École des Beaux Arts

As I was walking up the Rue Bonaparte, I was stopped short by a massive head of Poussin (1838 by Michel-Louis Mercier):-

As I was trying to take a photograph, not altogether successfully, the doorman kindly let me in and I was able to wander freely through the whole site, which, once upon a time, was the Musée des Monuments Francais, laid out by Alexandre Lenoir after the French Revolution. Once the Museum closed in 1816, it was given to the École des Beaux Arts, which had originally been the Academie Royale. Their architect, Francois Debret, and his brother-in-law, Felix Duban, retained many of the older elements as a palimpsest:-

The gardens are full of odd and unexpected remains:-

From here, I found myself in the Palais des Etudes, which was glassed over in 1863:-

I’ve always thought that art schools are unexpectedly good preservers of historic buildings because they are completely without sanctimony and treat buildings roughly, but with respect:-


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