The Museum of Fine Arts, the oldest museum in Marseille, is one of the fifteen museums that the Consulate created in 1801 in the major cities of France .
During the Second Empire, in order to offer it and to the museum, spaces worthy of its collections, the City of Marseilles has built the Palais Longchamp on the plans of the architect Henry Espérandieu, which will be inaugurated in 1869. This monument dedicated to The glory of the Arts and Science, commemorates with its majestic central fountain, the arrival in the city of the waters of the channel of the Durance.
The collection of the museum was constituted in the early years of the Revolution from the works seized in the churches and from the goods of the newcomers.
In 1802, the State sent to the museums it had just created, a selection of masterpieces illustrating the great painting schools of Italy, France and northern Europe. Throughout the nineteenth century, the collection was enriched by paintings that the State continued to send regularly. The acquisitions, legacies and gifts which succeeded during the two centuries of its existence, gave the museum its present face. [source]