The Petit Palais Museum

The Petit Palais museum owes its name to the familiar appellation of the archbishop's palace in which it is housed, a name that was given to it in reference to the great palace next door: the Palais des Papes. This "Petit Palais", with its nearly 3,000 m2 organized around two interior courtyards, is nonetheless an important testimony to the pontifical settlement of Avignon in the 14th century, and to the city's transformation from the 15th to the 18th century, when it became a vice legation of the reigning pope in Rome. The building is also emblematic of the contemporary fate of medieval monuments after the French Revolution.

Formerly the possession of Cardinal Arnaud de Via, nephew of Pope John XXII, who died in 1335, and then the palace of the Archbishop of Avignon, the museum was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century by Archbishop Julien de la Rovère, the future Pope Julius II.
Its crenellated façade is pierced by mullioned windows.
The museum houses a unique collection of paintings from the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance (over 300 Italian primitives), including the Campana collection, a major collection from the Musée Calvet (Ecole d'Avignon from the 13th to 16th centuries) and medieval sculptures from the 12th to 16th centuries, from Avignon and the surrounding area.
This collection provides an insight into artistic creation in Italy during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The restoration of the Petit Palais, a listed building belonging to the City of Avignon, was undertaken in 1961 and entrusted to Jean Sonnier, Architecte en Chef des Monuments Historiques. The aim was to restore the building for a new museum. After removing the alterations imposed by the building's previous functions, Sonnier cleared as much of the late medieval building as possible, leaving the traces of the various construction phases visible.



Petit Palais Museum
Place du Palais des Papes
84000 Avignon
Tel: 04 90 86 44 58


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