Visit Jacquemart-André

The Musée Jacquemart-André, a 19th-century mansion not far from the Champs Elysées, houses a sumptuous art collection from the Italian Renaissance. Designed by architect Henri Parent, it took six years starting from 1868 for the project to come to completion. The result is a stunning building whose facades and designs are in perfect symmetry, conceived from Parent's traditional approach to architecture.

From 1833 to 1984, the Musée de Jacquemart André was the private home of Edouard André − an art collector hailing from a wealthly family of bankers − and his wife, a well-know painter named Nélie Jacquemart. Together, the couple collected important Italian artworks in France and from the Orient. Their collection was made public in 1913, when Nélie Jacquemart handed over the mansion to the Institut de France to be turned into a museum, as her husband’s will had stipulated.

A Museum in Five Parts

The museum is divided into five parts. The first part is the grands salons (State Apartments). The middle of the lush Picture Gallery houses an antechamber whose walls are filled with works by Boucher, Canaletto and Nattier. This is merely a preview into the grandeur of what lies ahead. From the 18th century style room where Jacquemart-André used to receive guests, one moves to the Music Room, with its rich red walls and dark wood panelling. Take a moment to look up and admire the upper gallery.

Take a look at the Winter Garden (Jardin d'Hiver), a room which was fashionable during Napoleon III's reign. When the weather is fine, sunlight can be seen filtering through the glass roof, nourishing the huge exotic plants that crowd this room. But it is the Grand Staircase that commands one's full attention: a breathtaking melange of marble, stone, iron, bronze and mirrors which eventually leads you to Giambattista Tiepolo's fresco and ceiling art.

The Italian Museum is found on the second floor of the mansion. Here, their collection of 15th and 16th century sculptures, paintings, and objets d'art lie in 3 different galleries - the Florentine Gallery, the Venetian Gallery, and the Sculpture Gallery.

The Informal Apartments make up another part of the Museum. A more personal space where the couple would welcome less formal guests in their apartments and antechambers, these rooms give us a glimpse into their intimate lives. On display are 17th and 18th century paintings, Egyptian antiques, objets d'art and tasteful furniture. In the Tapestry Room hang three majestic tapestries hailing from Jean-Baptiste Le Prince sketches.

And lastly, my guilty pleasure: the Private Apartments, where the bedrooms and even part of the bathrooms are displayed to the public, cementing the fact that, yes, this stately museum was indeed a home before anything else.

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