The main stairs begin at the antechamber of the 18th century Vendôme Hotel and lead to the apartments on the first floor. Its former Régence decoration has is now gone, except for the beautiful wrought iron railing and the geometric pavement in black and white marble at the bottom of the stairs.
The paintings by Claud Hugard were added in 1855. They represent the « scenery of nature ». Hugard, in ten compositions, highlights the humility geologists must have towards nature. Dufrénoy, director of the School of Mines and author with Elie de Beaumont of the first geological map of France, wrote to the ministry in 1855 that “the paintings are only interesting if they display an artistic quality as well as a geological accuracy”. For this reason, the ministry even sent Hugard in the French Alps in 1852 – 1853.
The panels of fake marble were installed between 1854 and 1858. They are painted based on samples still present in the collections of the Mineralogy Museum. Their accuracy is undeniable.
The ceiling paintings are by Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol, and date from 1856. They were installed between 1858 and 1859. The first painting depicts the “apotheosis of the great men who distinguish themselves in the fields of geology and mineralogy”. The Allegory of Science, in the form of a young winged woman draped in the antique fashion, gives laurel wreaths to a group of scientists seating in a circle, on top of clouds.
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Musée de Minéralogie
60 boulevard Saint Michel
Tuesday - Friday: 1:30 - 6pm
Saturday: 10am - 12:30pm; 2 - 5pm
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and National Holidays (next closures: November 11 and December 23rd through January 1st)
Find all our temporary exhibits and special events here