|Fribourg : the museums|
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Between Notre-Dame and the Église des Cordeliers is the highly recommended Espace Jean Tinguely, 2 Rue de Morat (Wed–Sun 10am–5pm, Thurs also 8–10pm; Fr.5), devoted to the twentieth-century Swiss kinetic artist who was born in Fribourg. Housed in an old transport depot, this new museum complements the more famous one in Basel, documenting Tinguely’s whimsical but also trenchantly purposeful sculptural machines. Old rusty wheels, bits of iron and objets trouvés are all recycled in extraordinary constructions which use a lot of energy and demonstrate great skill and ingenuity – but which go absolutely nowhere. One of the most spectacular on display is the grand Retable de l’Abondance occidentale et du Mercantilisme totalitaire – press the foot button to set things in eccentric but somehow poetic motion.
About 150m north, within sight of the medieval Porte de Morat, is the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, 12 Rue de Morat (Tues–Sun 10am–5pm, Thurs also 8–10pm; permanent collection free, temporary exhibits Fr.5–10 combined ticket with Espace Tinguely). This broad collection is housed in an elegant sixteenth-century patrician mansion and, bizarrely, an adjacent slaughterhouse. Begin on the left in the Ratzé mansion, filled with medieval art and reliquaries with, upstairs, a particularly striking series of fourteen intricate biblical scenes carved in relief from panels of lime wood (1600). Upstairs again is the especially revolting jewel-bedecked skeleton of St Felix, dating from 1755, with glitter for lips and a phial of dried blood resting beside the bones. From the ticket desk, a subterranean tunnel runs through to the old abattoir, whose sombre stones now shelter a line of fourteen saints taken from the cathedral portal alongside a particularly mournful Tinguely sculpture. Upstairs is a collection of Swiss art from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
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