In 1801 after the French Revolution, the Chaptal decree declares the distribution of royal art collection to fourteen provincial museums. Nantes received a part and created the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1810 this collection was enriched thanks to the important purchase from Cacault brothers. At that time is was the richest collection outside Paris. Today, among the most famous artists, we can mention Tintoretto, Annibal Carrache, Georges de la Tour, Simon Vouet, Rubens or Antoine Watteau. The new acquisitions and the deposit of Fond national d’art contemporain in 2003 introduce modern and post-modern artworks.
Since 1975 the museum is registered as a historical monument of France. Between 2011 and 2017 the museum was closed for restoration and reopens its doors six years later as Musée d’Arts de Nantes.