A Journey into the Heart of Art
Located just twenty minutes from Mazamet by car/train, Castres is a charming city renowned for its history and cultural heritage. The city’s architectural gems, including the Saint-Benoît Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, showcase its medieval past. Nature lovers are drawn to the picturesque banks of the Agout River, where scenic walks or boat trips await. More importantly, Castres is home to the Goya Museum, now open after three years of major renovation, with 1500m2 of space thoughtfully redesigned to house a remarkable collection of artworks by Francisco de Goya and other esteemed artists. Read on to find out why the Goya Museum stands as a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts!
The Goya Museum: An Overview
With over 600 pieces of art on display, the Goya Museum is mainly dedicated to Spanish art, boasting the largest collection in France including 200 paintings. Opened in 1840, this museum houses an extensive collection of paintings, engravings, and drawings that showcase various notable artists’ genius.
Visiting the Museum
A visit to the Goya Museum will transport you through time and space, via a chronothematic tour. Each room offers a unique experience, highlighting themes such as 18th-century Spanish society, war and violence, as well as mythology and folklore. On the ground floor, the museum features temporary exhibitions that changes every 3-4 months. At the time of this blog, Miró’s homage to Gaudi is on exhibition. From the end of June, the museum will showcase Picasso’s fine work.
Some of our Favorite Pieces
Among the multitude of masterpieces displayed at the Goya Museum, certain artworks have particularly captivated us. One of them is Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s “La Vierge au Chapelet” (Our Lady of the Rosary). This painting portrays a gentle and benevolent Virgin Mary, depicted in prayer with a rosary in her hands. The intricate details and serene expression of the Virgin are captivating, emanating a sense of spirituality. It is an iconic work by Murillo, renowned for his delicate representation of faith and devotion.
Another remarkable artwork at the Goya Museum is Francisco Pacheco’s “Le Jugement Dernier” (The Last Judgment). This striking painting depicts the biblical scene of the last judgment, where souls face their eternal destinies. Pacheco showcases his talent for portraying intense emotions and spiritual turmoil, creating a powerful and emotive composition.
The Influence of Château de Versailles
Located on the site of a former Benedictine abbey, the building which now houses the Goya Museum is a former episcopal palace built in the 17th century under the episcopate of Monseigneur de Tubeuf. Its construction took place from 1665 to 1673, according to the plan of the great architect of Versailles, Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The renowned landscape architect André Le Nôtre, who designed the magnificent gardens of Versailles, played a part in the creation of the gardens here. Le Nôtre’s influence is evident in the meticulous layout, geometric precision, and exquisite beauty of the gardens.
Convinced, now? YES!
A visit to the Goya Museum in Castres is undoubtedly an opportunity to immerse yourself in the extraordinary Spanish art. Experience the seamless blend of art and nature while you explore the meticulously designed gardens, enjoying their tranquil ambiance and enchanting atmosphere. For more information on entrance fee and opening hours, visit the Goya Museum’s website.
Be sure to include a visit to Castres as part of your stay at La Villa de Mazamet. We provide self-drive guides to our guests and will be happy to share additional recommendations based on your interests!