This museum is housed in the Palais Saint-Pierre a former Benedictine royal abbey, its magnificent facade being visible from the Place des Terreaux. If the convent nowadays sheltering the museum has been created in the thirteenth century, the buildings only acquired their present configuration in the seventeenth century. Severe at first sight, from the Place des Terreaux, the museum’s facade reveals a garden, green and peaceful setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. Very appreciated by its visitors, the garden and cloisters shelter many sculptures surrounded by arcades and topped by balconies and terraces.
This is the way leading to the Baroque dining hall, a large space decorated with paintings by Lyonnais artist Louis Cretey as well as sculptures of many saints, reminding us of the religious past of the building. The museum of Fine Arts, Lyon, nowadays offers a stroll through 5 000 years of history, collections exhibited in a magnificent context, as, with this example here, the former chapel of the abbey welcoming the nineteenth and twentieth century sculptures.
The creation of the museum of Fine Arts in Lyon is a direct consequence of the French Revolution, the museum being one the first created outside of Paris, its first exhibition room opening its doors to the audience from 1803 on. From the very start, the museum is defined by the universal dimension of its collections, nowadays structured in four main departments: antiquities, decorative arts, paintings and sculptures.