Musee Conde, Chantilly
French Art Museum: History, Collection Highlights, Library, Illuminated Manuscripts.

Chateau de Chantilly. Home of the
Musee Conde.

Musee Conde, Chantilly


The Collection
Chateau Library
Contact Details

This French art museum is famous for its masterpiece of miniature painting, the illuminated manuscript known as Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Please see Best Art Museums in Europe for details of other galleries in France.

Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry By the Limbourg Brothers
Month of May - Detail from
Les Tres Riches Heures
By the Limbourg Brothers.

Louvre Museum
Musee d'Orsay
Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts
Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts
Prado Museum Madrid
Uffizi Gallery Florence
Pitti Palace, Florence
Capodimonte Museum, Naples
Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel Frescoes
Raphael Rooms (Vatican)
Doria Pamphilj Gallery

Mauritshuis Art Museum
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Alte Meister Dresden
Gemaldegalerie SMPK, Berlin
Pinakothek Museum Munich
Kunsthistorisches Museum
National Gallery London
British Museum
British Royal Art Collection

Before visiting the Musee Conde,
Chantilly, please see:
Art Evaluation: How to Appreciate Art.


Located in the historical French town of Chantilly, and about an hour's drive from Paris, Chateau de Chantilly was built by master mason Pierre Chambiges (d.1544) in the 16th century for Anne de Montmorency (1493-1567). Today, it comprises of two main buildings, the Grand Chateau which was destroyed in the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 1870s, and the Petit Chateau which was built for de Montmorency. Now owned by the Institute of France, the Chateau houses one of the finest art collections in France in its gallery the Musee Conde. The gallery has a world famous collection of medieval art, including illuminated manuscripts and other rare texts, along with paintings from the Renaissance and the Baroque.

The Permanent Collection

Many of the gallery's works are displayed in a rather haphazard manner, in no particular chronological order or art school. Apparently the Duke who donated the Chateau to the Institute of France in 1897 requested that exhibits not be reorganized. Most of the important paintings can be found in a small room called the Sanctuaire, including examples of medieval painting by the French Renaissance artist Jean Fouquet (1420-81) and Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael (1483-1520). Passing through the Galerie de Psyche with its stained glass art, the visitor next enters the Tribune Room where the remaining important works are located including paintings by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522) and Filippino Lippi (1457-1504). Other painters represented include Fra Angelico (1395-1455), painter and printmaker Federico Barocci (c.1526-1612), members of the Bolognese school such as Baroque painters Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), Domenichino (1581-1641), Guercino (1591-1666) and Salvator Rosa (1615-76). Also in the collection are works by the great French classicist Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), the eminent Flemish portrait artist Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), rococo artist Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), portraitists Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805), and Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92). It also has French painting by the doyen of the Paris Academy J.A.D.Ingres (1780-1867), landscapist Corot (1796-1875), Romantic painter Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), as well as the caricaturist and lithographer Theodore Gericault (1791-1824). The gallery also owns 366 restored portrait drawings by Jean Clouet (1480-1541) and his son Francois (1510-72), which were originally owned by Queen Catherine de Medici.

See our guide to the art of
Painting (oils/watercolours), or
Sculpture (marble/bronze), or
Printmaking (etching/lithography).

For news of any major exhibitions
of fine art being held at the
Musee Conde, Chantilly, see:
Art News Headlines.



- Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1413) by the Limbourg Brothers.
- Head of a Monk (1447) by Benozzo Gozzoli.
(Drawing: white highlights & brown gouache over metalpoint on ochre paper)
- Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier (1450-60) by Jean Fouquet.
- Autumn (c.1470s) by Sandro Botticelli.
- Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci (c.1480) by Piero di Cosimo.
- Three Graces (1504-5) by Raphael.
- Madonna of Loreto (c.1508) by Raphael
(Originally thought lost then wrongly attributed to Gianfrancesco Penni)
- Pieta (c.1637) by Guercino.
- Champetre Concert (Woodland Music-Makers, 1857) by Camille Corot.

Chateau Library

There is a free guided tour daily which takes visitors around the apartments of the 16th century wing, known as the Petit Chateau. The first stop is the chateau's library which contains 1,300 manuscripts and 12,500 printed books, including Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry by the Limbourg Brothers, one of the most celebrated Books of Hours in the world. A masterpiece of Medieval manuscript illumination, its text is illuminated with richly coloured drawings illustrating the months of the year with scenes from contemporary 15th century rural life, like ploughing, harvest time and sheep-shearing. The library also contains 40 miniatures from the Book of Hours of Etienne Chevalier by Jean Fouquet, as well as the Ingeborg Psalter and about 200 medieval manuscripts including one page from the Registrum Gregorii (c.983). (See also History of Illuminated Manuscripts.) The remaining rooms in the Petit Chateau contain numerous types of art, including beautiful antique furnishings and boisieries panelling on the walls. Also of interest is the Grand Singerie, a salon with paintings on the walls of monkeys engaged in normal everyday human activities. Once a very fashionable salon motif, very few remaining examples survive today.

Chateau Grounds

The Chateau is located in a park with beautiful water features and parterres (formal garden landscaping with structured clipped hedging and gravel paths). The estate overlooks Chantilly Racecourse and The Great Stables (Grandes Ecuries) which contains the Living Museum of the Horse. According to records, the Duc de Bourbon believed he would be reincarnated as a horse so in 1719 he commissioned stables to be built fitting to his rank. The Great Stables, are considered as some of the most beautiful in the world.

Contact Details

Musee Conde

+03 44 27 31 80


Opening Times

Open Every day except Tuesday
April 2 to November 1: 10am to 6pm
November 2 to March 31st: 10.30am to 5pm


• For details of more French galleries, see: Best Art Museums.
• For more information about art collections and exhibitions, see: Homepage.

© All rights reserved.