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Toulouse, an artistic capital


Annales du Capitole, Chronicle 136.
Toulouse Municipal Archives.
The geographical situation of Languedoc - and of Toulouse in particular - between Provence and Catalonia caused it to become a favoured staging post on the route of traders, pilgrims and artists. At a time when artists were particularly mobile in search of commissions, Toulouse developed into a cosmopolitan city.

The painters’ studios in Toulouse were famed throughout Languedoc for easel painting – of which only a few examples remain – and also murals and illumination. The frescos of Notre-Dame du Taur are one of the last examples of mural painting preserved in Toulouse. The Annales du Capitole (Chronicles of Toulouse), produced at the request of the Capitouls (municipal magistrates), provide important evidence of the development of the art of illumination between the 14th and 16th Centuries.

There was intense architectural activity in the 15th Century: in the Cathedral of Saint Etienne and the churches of the Dalbade, the Cordeliers and Saint Nicolas to name but a few, and major sculpture programmes were undertaken in parallel. Among the most important work of the period are the portal of Saint Nicolas’ church (the sculptures from the tympanum are now preserved in the church), and the portal on the western façade of the Cathedral of Saint Etienne, the statues of which were destroyed during the Revolution.