Musée des Augustins is one of the highlights of Toulouse

Situated by the banks of the Garonne River, halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the reddish-pink brick city of Toulouse is the natural gateway to south-western France. Within easy reach are the Episcopal City of Albi and the medieval  Citadel of Carcassonne, both World Heritage cities. The wine capital of Bordeaux is only a two-hours TGV train-ride away and so is Montpellier further south.

The Canal du Midi runs through the city so if travelling leisurley by boat is your thing, then Toulouse could be your point of departure. Or if you prefer to walk like the pilgrims did, you wouldn’t want to miss the Basilica of Saint Sernin, one of the largest Romanesque-style churches in Europe and a stop on the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela. Canal du Midi and Saint-Sernin are also World Heritage enlisted sites.

Musee des Augustines, Toulouse, France. Exhibition of medieval capitals (Jorge Pardo)
Salome presents the head of Saint John the Baptist to her mother (late 12th century)


Romanesque Capitals at Musée des Augustins

Musée des Augustins is one of the highlights of Toulouse. While they have an impressive collection of paintings and Gothic sculptures, our point of interest here is the museum’s collection of Romanesque capitals, composed mainly of remnants from the Monastery of La Daurade, the Collegiate Church of Saint Sernin and Saint Etienne Cathedral, all three situated in Toulouse. Musée des Augustins was converted from being a convent to a museum in the turbulent years following the French Revolution (1789).

A capital makes up the decorative “head” of a weight-bearing pillar or a column. The ancient Greek capitals, especially the ones of the doric and inonic order, are found everywhere in the western world.

Foliage scrolls populated with fighting birds and wild beasts (mid 12th century)
Foliage scrolls populated with fighting birds and wild beasts (mid 12th century)

The above photos were taken during an exhibition curated by the American artis Jorge Pardo. The captials shown here may presently not be on display.
Please check Musée de Augustins’ website for info and updates on current exhibitions.


All photos © Asgeir Pedersen, Heredajo