Le Bernard d'Agesci museum de Niort, one of the most important museums in the Great West. It presents over 6m300, 2 sections: Fine Arts, Music (mainly around the luthier Auguste Tolbecque) Natural History et the conservatory and observatory of education. This museum welcomes have one of the rare national painting restoration workshops!


The history of the Bernard d'Agesci Museum

Augustin Bernard aka Bernard d'Agesci born in Niort in 1756. From a bourgeois family, he was a student at the Collège de l'Oratoire in Niort before being sent to Paris to study the great masters. He then enters the workshop Jean-Bernard Restout at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. It finds place in this Artistic Paris as evidenced by the presence of six of his paintings in the collections of the Marquis Louis-Gabriel de Véri, who is probably at the origin of his departure for Italy where he stayed from 1783 to 1789, in Bologna and Rome. He returned to Paris in 1789 to the heart of the bubbling cauldron of French Revolution. At the Salon of 1791 in Paris, year III of freedom, he exhibited 9 paintings under the name of Bernard Dagescy or D'Agesci. In 1792, he prepared to enter the Academy when it was abolished. Revolutionary events forced him to leave Paris and settle in Niort. Would you like to know more about its history? Consult the press kit at the end of the page.

Did you know?

The building which houses the museum was originally a high school for girls. It was designed by the Niort architect Georges Lasseron (1844-1932). It will retain its educational vocation until 1993. Its transformation into a museum was decided in 1995.

Philip Wall

Parthenay earthenware ceiling

Created by Prosper Jouneau for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, visible at the Bernard d'Agesci museum.

The Fine Arts and Decorative Arts section

These collections of Bernard d'Agesci museum highlight the evolution of the representation of bodies in painting and sculpture according to the political and religious contexts and medical discoveries.
The section brings together paintings from the 16th to the 20th century, mostly Flemish et dutch ; few very well-known painters, but many “little masters” of high quality and “followers” ​​of talent, such as the “Virgin of the Grapes” (Flemish School of the 1581th century) or the “Solomon and the Queen of Sheba” of the workshop of Frans II Francken known as “the young” (Antwerp, 1642-Antwerp, XNUMX), Flemish painter from the Netherlands.
In the great hall of Bernard d'Agesci museum, the visitor is welcomed by “The Apollo of the Belvedere”, a 17th century bronze statue attributed to the sculptor Hubert Le Sueur; an introduction inviting you to also discover 19th century sculptures (Poisson, Baujault, Caillet, etc.) or even the bust room.

As to decorative Art, Bernard d'Agesci museum this an exceptional collection of objects: clerical tray from Syria (1230-50), inscribed tray from Egypt or Syria (1310-40), baby armor from Persia from the XNUMXth century, etc.; France's third collection of Islamic objects but also Gothic ivories, Limoges enamels from the Renaissance, religious goldwork…
Without forgetting, the painted woodwork from the first half of the 17th century of the chapel of the castle of La Mothe-Saint-Héray (Deux-Sèvres) and the 9 m2 ceiling in Parthenay earthenware (Deux-Sèvres) exhibited in the room Auguste Tolbecque (19th-20th century musician, adopted from Niort, part of which violin making collection is showcased at the Bernard d'Agesci museum).

The Music section

This section is particularly dedicated to the violin making collection of Auguste Tolbecque, a multi-instrumentalist musician from the 19th-20th century who settled in Niort in 1856.

The Bernard d'Agesci museum immerses you, through 2 rooms, in the music room of the artist as well as in his violin making workshop Fort-Foucault (old fortress located on an islet facing the Donjon of Niort).
You will discover, among other things, reconstructions of instruments from the Middle Ages, a fifteen-stringed lyre bass from 1898 or even a cello. These instruments are all made by Auguste Tolbecque.

The Natural History section

The “day and night” space du Bernard d'Agesci museum contains of iconic mammals such as wolf or brown bear which has raptors as the long-eared owl, tailed eagle
white, golden eagle…
These animals rub shoulders in this room which evokes their diurnal or nocturnal behavior.

A important ornithology collection is mainly made up of donations au Bernard d'Agesci museum of two naturalists and taxidermists from Niort: Ingrand, former college director in Civray, then in Niort, and his disciple Marius Guimard, employed at the City of Mail, who preserved the last bearded vulture (the largest vulture in European wildlife) killed in France, in the Pyrenees.

Also to see: un a cabinet of curiosities bringing together corals, shellfish, ostrich eggs ; a collection of ammonite fossils and other marine mollusks dating between 183 and 155 million years ago; a osteological collection with skeletons of deer, monkey, golden eagle, bat, lion…

The conservatory section of the school, teaching methods and scientific objects

Philip Wall
museum-bernard-agesci-conservatory-school-niort-marais-poitevin

This section of the Bernard d'Agesci museum this the story of a century and a half of teaching: school objects and furniture (museum cabinet used for object lessons), scientific devices (praxinoscope, the beginnings of cinema), wall maps, works middle and high schools.


Open. Closes at 13:00 p.m.
26 avenue de Limoges
79000 Niort
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