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Fodor's France 2014
Musée de Picardie
Musée de Picardie Review
Behind an opulent columned facade, the Musée de Picardie, built 1855–67, looks like a pompous offering from the Second Empire. Initial impressions are hardly challenged by the grand staircase lined with monumental frescoes by local-born Puvis de Chavannes, or the central hall hung with huge canvases, like Gérôme's 1855 Siècle d'Auguste and Maignon's 1892 Mort de Carpeaux. One step beyond, though, and you're in a rotunda painted top to bottom in modern minimalist fashion by Sol LeWitt. The basement is filled with subtly lighted archaeological finds and Egyptian artifacts beneath masterly brick vaulting. The ground floor houses the 18th and 19th-century paintings of artists such as Fragonard and Boucher. Note that there are major renovations underway, so parts of the museum may be closed to the public until 2016.
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