June 16, 2010

Tourists in Quebec: Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Qúebec

Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, my husband and I were able to spend several days in Quebec City. Of course, we had to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec. The museum is housed in three buildings, built in different styles in different periods. The original home of the museum is the neoclassical Gérard Morisset building, inaugurated in 1933.

the Gérard Morisset building of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

The Gérard Morisset building was designed by architect Wilfrid Lacroix and the reliefs on the facade were sculpted by Émile Brunet. I do not know who designed the metalwork of these side doors or even if they were part of the original building, but I think they're magnificent.

side door of the Gérard Morisset building of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

The original museum was built only 100 meters away from a prison which had been standing there since 1867. In 1991, after much renovation, the old Quebec City Prison was inaugurated as part of the museum. It is named the Charles Baillargé building, after the architect-engineer-surveyor who designed the prison.

the Charles Baillargé building of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

The museum kept a few of the prison cells intact, to show what prison life was like in the 19th century. The cells are tiny, with barely enough room for a narrow cot, a pail and a bowl.

19th century prison cells in the Charles Baillargé building of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

Also inaugurated in 1991, the granite and glass Grand Hall serves as the museum's reception area and connects the two older buildings. The sculpture in front is by Québécois artist Jean-Pierre Morin titled "Trombe" (Waterspout). I've just discovered that it's for sale, in case any of you are interested.

the Grand Hall of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

The funky skylight and plant-topped roof of the Grand Hall is best appreciated from the tower of the prison.

skylight and plant-topped roof of the Grand Hall of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

The Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Qúebec is located on the Plains of Abraham, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. It was the site of a 1759 battle between the British and the French, pivotal for deciding the fate of North America during the Seven Years' War.

St. Lawrence River in Québec

The Plains of Abraham were named not after the biblical figure but after the man who lived near the field and used it for grazing his livestock. It is also known as Battlefields Park.

Battlefields Park in Québec

Oh, and in case you're wondering why I don't have pictures of the artwork inside the museum, photography isn't allowed.


Eki said...

So now you're posting from Quebec, Hilda?

This is marvelous post. I enjoyed reading the description/story, and the pictures. The last one reminds me of summers in the US.

arabesque said...

tnx for sharing the warm side of quebec, i like how you took those prison cells, you made it interesting,
the museum is indeed jaw dropping, as well as the sculptures displayed outside. ^0^

brattcat said...

It's been many years since I visited Quebec. After seeing these images I think maybe it is time to return.

Al said...

A prison turned into an art museum, that's a new one for me! Great photos.

Olivier said...

un beau melange de moderne et d'ancien, j'aime bcp

CafebyJW said...

Mostly museum doesn't allow to take a shot, but the outside structure is beautiful enough, I like the one with front gate.

What is that shaped-pole are for?

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cieldequimper said...

Oh lucky you, I love Québec! Great shots all of them.

lunarossa said...

Beautiful photos from Canada, Hilda. Hope you're both having a great time there. It's a country I really would like to visit. Enjoy! Ciao. A.

Lois said...

Too bad they won't let you take pictures inside. It's a magnificent building and the columns are my favorite part!

Halcyon said...

I have never been to Quebec. I think I could only go in the summer though as I don't like the cold. Your pictures make it look very inviting.

Cezar and Léia said...

Oh Hilda, thanks so much for sharing these pictures.I'm here dreaming about Quebec, all pictures are so well captured, great work!

Jacob said...

What a great post! You obviously did a lot of research which is much appreciated. I've been to Montreal but not to Quebec City. This is such an interesting place. The prison part intrigues me most of all...can't imagine what that would have been like so many years ago.

Wonderful photography, Hilda!

AB said...

Strange animals on the stairs in the first photo.

JM said...

Both this and the previous post are fantastic! You have been taking wonderful photos in Toronto, Hilda. Great work indeed!

JM said...

... in Toronto AND Québec! :-)

the donG said...

that's exactly the reason why i rarely feature museums. but whta's good for this one, at least from outside you already get to see some artworks. and i like the idea of structures with green-top.

George said...

The three different buildings of the museum are interesting and tell quite a story in and of themselves. You've done a wonderful job of sharing the museum even if you weren't allowed to take pictures of the artwork.

Kaori said...

Great photo of the Grand Hall! It looks like a really great place. I love how so much green surrounds the grounds.