Caen's Musée des Beaux-Arts is the main art museum of the French town, founded at the beginning of the 19th century and rebuilt inside the Caen Castle in 1971. In 1801 French Interior Minister Jean-Antoine Chaptal selected fifteen a city where many art museums can be opened, thus encompassing the huge number of works of art collected during confiscations or during the wars of the Revolution and the Napoleonic period. The city of Caen was chosen as the capital of Normandy and for its academic reputation. The first nucleus of collections was the artwork confiscated during secularization of the monasteries and convents of the region, which until then were deposited in the church of Sainte Catherine des Arts. The museum was built in the former seminary from 1801 and completed only in 1809. The first curators selected a collection of 46 important works of art, including works by Paolo Veronese, Poussin and others, which made the Caen Museum collection larger than those of Lyon and, of course, Paris. Over time, collections were increased, though they never got the Bayeux tapestry. The collection grew but also diminished, following the various wars that affected the region and its adjacent areas. From 1841 to 1880 the museum management passed to the painter Alfred Guillard who in 1850 published the first catalog. In 1872 he gained the most significant increase, thanks to the donation of more than 50,000 books by Caen Bernard Mancel, who had purchased in 1845 a large part of the Roman collection of Cardinal Fesch, Napoleon Bonaparte's uncle. The works included paintings, drawings and prints, with names such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Callot, Perugino, Veronese and Rogier van der Weyden. In the following years the prestige of the museum suffered a decline for the little inspiration of the curators, with a fire in 1905 that damaged the premises and some works mainly of Flemish and Dutch schools, as well as a Battle of François Debon. The renovation of the premises had to wait until 1936, but in 1944 the museum suffered a serious allied bombing. If the most precious works had been saved, about 540 six-seven and nineteenth-century paintings were destroyed, as well as about 400 sheets of the cabinet of prints, archives, inventories and frames. A museum reconstruction took place only in 1963 and the new building saw light in Caen Castle only in 1971. From 1 February 2005 access to the collections was made free of charge.