Description:Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine, Angers
The Museum of Jean Lurçat and Contemporary Tapestry has been housed within the imposing architecture of the medieval hospital of Saint John (l'hôpital médiéval Saint-Jean) since 1967. The collection of contemporary tapestries by Jean-Lurçat (1892-1966), is entitled Le Chant du Monde (the Song of the World).
Contemporary Tapestry of Jean Lurçat – Le Chant du Monde
The modern tapestries hung in the Musée Jean-Lurçat are contemporary echoes of the Apocalypse Tapestry, the largest collection of medieval tapestries, now housed within the walls of the Château at Angers. The Chant du Monde comprises ten monumental tapestries symbolic of Lurçat’s humanistic vision of the 20th century. Tapestries range from a depiction of the nuclear holocaust at Hiroshima (L’Homme de Hiroshima 1957) to a more optimistic view of Mankind living in harmony with the world as portrayed by L’Homme en gloire dans la Paix 1958. Jean Lurçat had intended that his works would continue but Lurçat’s grand vision was halted as a result of the artist’s death in 1966.
Hospital of Saint John - L'hôpital Saint-Jean
L'hôpital Saint-Jean is a remarkable architectural edifice dating from 1175 and was classed as a French historical monument as early as 1840. L'hôpital Saint-Jean is one of the oldest and best preserved hospital complexes dating from the Middle Ages. The hospital was founded by Étienne de Marsay in 1175 on the orders of the Plantagenet King Henry II of England, who was also Count of Anjou, reputedly because Henry II was anxious to atone for the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Hospital was run by clerics until the 17th century and, during its last period in use as a hospital between the 17th and 19th centuries, it could accommodate up to 500 patients. It became a museum in 1874 after a new hospital was constructed in Angers.
L'hôpital Saint-Jean is constructed in the Angevin-Gothic style and, to this day, much of the medieval buildings remain including the cloisters, the chapelle, the grain stores and the cellars. The 17th century saw the addition of an apothecary dispensing medicines but perhaps the most striking feature of Hôpital Saint-Jean is la grande salle des maladies – the ward were patients were cared for. La grande salle measures 60 metres (almost 200 feet) in length and is 22.5 metres (over 70 feet) wide. Not surprisingly, it is within the Grande Salle that the Chant du Monde tapestries of Jean Lurçat are now displayed.
The Old Orphanage - L’Ancien Orphelinat
A 17th century building adjacent to the Musée Jean-Lurçat, which was an old orphanage, houses works complimentary to the collection of Jean Lurçat’s tapestries. Here can be found works in textiles and also paintings by Jean Lurçat’s. Donations of works have also been made by other tapestry artists such as Thomas Gleb and Josep Grau Garriga, the latter’s work being characterised by experimentation in three dimensions and a wide array of materials.
October to May From Tuesday to Sunday 10h to 12 noon & 14h to 18h
June to September Daily from 10h to 18h30
Closed 1 Jan, 1 May, 1 & 11 nov and Christmas Day.
Adults: 4 €; Concessions 3 €; Under 26 free. Discount ticket available for 2 of Angers' museums.
4 Boulevard Arago
Travel Tip: There are a number of historical sites in the centre of Angers within easy walking distance of the Museum of Jean Lurcat including the Chateau of Angers housing the Tapestry of he Apocalypse, Angers Museum of Fine Art and the Logis Barrault, Galerie David and the Abbatiale Toussaint and the Collegial Eglise Saint Martin.
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