Chapelle du Museon Arlaten - Musée de Provence

The Jesuit Chapel
On June 3, 1653, the Jesuits, who had turned the Museon Arlaten’s present site into a school, started building its chapel, which was partially funded by François Vautier, first physician of Marie de’ Medici and, later, Louis XIV. They also received many other donations for the chapel, which was consecrated on February 19, 1661. The anachronistic Gothic style ceiling dates from 1737.

Antoine Guibert made the polychrome marble high altar and the altarpiece in 1679. The original central painting of Saint Joseph, to whom the chapel was dedicated, is now lost. The present work, depicting Pentecost, probably dates from the 18th century. It is flanked by two monumental statues of Jesuit saints: Ignatius of Loyola and François-Xavier, who, respectively, founded the Company of Jesus and its missionary activity.

By the early 20th century, the chapel was being used to store potatoes and frozen meat. In 1936, Fernand Benoit repurposed it as an archeological museum of Christian art. In 1995, the collections were moved to the newly created Musée départemental Arles antique and the chapel became the visitors’ entrance to the cryptoporticus—Roman-built tunnels—before being turned into the Museon Arlaten’s temporary exhibition space.

The Museon Arlaten, museum of Provence
The Museon Arlaten tells the story of life in Provence from the 18th century to the present day within an extremely rare, exceptional setting condensing 2,000 years of architectural history from the Romans to the 21st century. In the late 19th century, Frédéric Mistral created this “poet’s museum”, which architect Michel Bertreux of the Tetrarc agency has just given a sweeping renovation with input from Christian Lacroix. Its extensive collections of artworks and folk objects recall daily life in Provence yesterday and today. The museum also features multimedia displays on the history of exhibiting art collections.

Discover the charm of one of France’s oldest folk museums, a treasure trove of Provence’s memories now accessible to all and anchored in contemporary society.
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  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Pernot Ricard
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture