Collection Spotlight: Musee Conde, Chantilly

Residing in the Chateau of Chantilly, the Condé Museum is one of the finest jewels in French heritage and has an interesting past. It is known for its collection of classical renaissance paintings, beautifully intricate portraits and 13th century manuscripts - notable for their remarkably preserved vibrant and colourful imagery.

 

Portrait of Francois I (1494-1547) c.1515-20 (oil on panel), Jean Clouet (1485/90-1540) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci (1453-76) (tempera on panel), Piero di Cosimo (c.1462-1521) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

 

The Duke d’Aumale, the last owner of the Chateau, collected masterpieces from Italian Renaissance paintings through to the 19th century. Henri d'Orléans was also a collector of manuscripts and antique books, many of which are still found and kept at the Chantilly - some can be viewed as part of the Condé's collection.

 

January: Banquet Scene, from the 'Tres Riches
Heures du Duc de Berry' (vellum), Limbourg Brothers (fl.1400-1416)
/ Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

April: Courtly figures in the castle grounds, from
the 'Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry' (vellum),
Limbourg Brothers (fl.1400-1416) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

 

After an accident involving a fire in at the Bazar de la Charité towards the end of his life, the Duke began to write individual letters offering condolances to the families of victims. The Bazar de la Charité was an annual charity event organised by the French Catholic aristocracy in Paris from 1885 onwards and the fire claimed over 200 lives, primarily those of aristocratic women.

 

The Virgin of the House of Orleans, c.1505-06 (oil on panel),
Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino) (1483-1520) / Musee Conde,
Chantilly, France

 

Portrait of Cardinal Jules Mazarin (1602-61) (oil on canvas),
Champaigne, Philippe de (1602-74) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

 

After finishing the 20th letter he suffered a cardiac arrest and died. In his will, written just a few months prior he bequeathed his Chantilly estate to the Institute of France, including the Chateau, where his exensive collection was to be turned into a museum. 

 

Frederic II (1194-1250) crowned by Pope Honorius III (d.1227) from Le Miroir Historial,
by Vincent de Beauvais (vellum), French School, (15th century) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

This degree of generosity led to the government withdrawing his decree of exile, which had been imposed on him in 1886 as one of the outcomes of the Franco-Prussian War - all royal family members and connections to previous leading figures of France were expelled.

 

Louis Alexandre de Bourbon (1678-1737) Count of
Toulouse in the Costume of a Novice of the Order of the
Holy Spirit, 1693 (oil on canvas), Boulogne, Louis de, the Younger (1654-1733) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

The anatomy of Man and Woman, from the 'Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry' (vellum), Limbourg, Pol de (d.c.1416) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

 

 

Today, the Condé Museum prides itself on its exceptional collection of manuscripts, the most famous being Les Très Riches Heures from the Duc de Berry and drawings by Clouet and other major artists.

To discover the rich collection of the Condé Museum, click here.

 

Bridgeman Images | Image. It’s Everything

 

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