Built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, the Petit Palace (small palace) houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts and displays a remarkable collection of paintings and sculptures, featuring the artworks of such prominent artists as Rembrandt, Rubens, Delacroix, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne and Rodin.
The current exhibits are divided into two sections. The first one, the so-called Dutit Collection, includes Renaissance paintings, drawings and artworks, and the second one – the Tuck Collection, features 19th-century furniture and the collection of paintings of the City of Paris. Among the masterpieces displayed in the museum are works of such prominent artists as Rembrandt, Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Gellée, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, Cezanne and Rodin.
The building was erected in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition and two years later it became a museum. The structure, designed by Charles Girlaut, is based on a trapezium shape and includes 4 wings arranged around the semi-circular garden situated by a decorated peristyle (a columnade). The main entrance is known for its craftsmanship and elegance.
Except the collection of artworks the museum also provides a database for researchers. In the Information Resource Center of the museum there is a reading room with 14 seats, and its collection includes approximately 25,000 books and periodicals and scientific archives relating to exhibitions since the opening of the museum.
The palace with its Ionic columns, grand porch and a dome resembles the National Residence of the Invalids, which is located across the river. Interestingly, Petit Palais has served as a model for other public buildings, most notably for the Royal Museum for Central Africa near Brussels (Belgium) and the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) in Santiago, Chile.