It’s been a while since I wrote about a museum but I’m hoping this should be worth the wait. For today’s Museum Monday I’m taking you to visit the Mougins Museum of Classical Art (MACM Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins), a surprising gem of a museum on the edge of a small medieval village on the Côte d’Azur. The first hint that this isn’t going to be a typical classical art museum comes as you walk into the pretty village. Look up to your left at the MACM and you’ll see 2 imposing sculptures by Antony Gormley, the contemporary British artist. But isn’t this a classical art museum, you ask yourself?
Yes it is, but it’s a wildly original take on classical art displaying treasures from the ancient world alongside neo-classical, modern and contemporary pieces. This unique approach juxtaposes Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities with works by artists as diverse as Degas, Rubens, Cézanne, Dufy, Matisse, Warhol, Picasso, Chagall, Man Ray, Calder, Braque, Rodin, Dali, Modigliani, Cocteau, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Gormley (and more). It is absolutely magic in my opinion.
The MACM is the inspired vision of British philanthropist and art collector, Christian Levett, who having collected antiquities since childhood decided to share his treasures with the public, opening the museum in 2011. Since then it has been nominated for, and won, several international awards including sharing the Ken d’Or 2012 Award for Best Museum with none other than the Louvre. It houses the largest privately-owned collection of Greco-Roman armour in the world. For such a small museum it certainly packs a punch.
The museum isn’t big, though it’s bigger than it looks from outside. It’s set out over 4 floors, covering Ancient Egypt in the basement, People and Personalities on the ground floor, Gods and Goddesses on the 1st floor and the Armory on the top floor. Everything is beautifully curated with explanations in both French and English and ultra-modern interactive touchscreens for further information.
By displaying a Damien Hirst skull next to a Roman head, or an Yves Klein statue and a Warhol painting with ancient marble and bronze statues. we get to see how the classical world has inspired and influenced contemporary art.
This ingenious approach is intriguing and thought-provoking and even appeals to both my kids (a teen and tween when they first visited). I highly recommend this astonishing museum and genuinely believe that whether you’re an artist or a hard-to-please teenager, a history buff or a kid obsessed with Romans and Gladiators, a culture-vulture or just someone who appreciates a pretty picture, you’ll love this place!
Mougins Museum of Classical Art regularly hosts temporary exhibitions (such as Dufy’s drawings and watercolours from the South of France on till mid-July 2019). There are also monthly Wednesday evening conferences with guest speakers followed by drinks. For younger visitors there are workshops and activities for children during school holidays as well as special events such as Easter Egg Hunts and Treasure Hunts, making it a very family-friendly place to visit. All these can be booked on the museum’s website.
A visit to Mougins Museum of Classical Art (MACM) takes about an hour to an hour and a half to get a good overall view. It is fully accessible with a lift to reach all floors. It has a small gift shop and toilets.
Tickets cost from 5€ – 14€ depending on age/concession etc. Children under 10 are free. There are family and group rates.
Opening Hours: open every day except Christmas Day. 21 June – 30 Sept 10 am – 8 pm, 1 Oct – 20 June 10 am – 6pm
Address: 32 rue Commandeur, Vieux Village de Mougins (at the entry to Mougins Village). WEBSITE click here.
Access: Parking is available in several car parks just outside the old village (which is pedestrian only). They get very full in high season so my advice is to go as early as possible. The walk up to the village from the furthest away car parks is steep and can be a challenge for anyone with reduced mobility but you can drive to just below the museum to drop off passengers.
Please excuse the quality of some of the photos, when I went with my kids I only had an old phone on me!
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