The Siege of the City of Aix by the Duc d’Epernon at the time of the League.
The Siege of the City of Aix by the Duc d’Epernon at the time of the League. Painting circa 1593 [Musée Granet] - The church of Saint-Jean de Malte is located outside the ramparts and the land on which the chapel was later built is a vineyard.
Geometric map of the City of Aix - 1680
Geometric map of the City of Aix, capital of Provence by Louis Cundier (1680) - The Mazarin quarter is under construction and the chapel of the Pénitents blancs is now to the east of the church of Saint Jean de Malte.

Emerging in the 16th century, during the Wars of Religion, brotherhoods of penitents, independent lay societies, performed certain devotional and charitable duties.

Formed in 1563, in the chapel of the convent of the Carmelites (now the passage Agard), the brotherhood of the Pénitents blancs built a new chapel in 1654, probably to a design by architect Pierre Pavillon. The building was completed in the early 18th century.

The brotherhood was disbanded at the Revolution and the chapel was transferred to the City of Aix, which used it to store animal feed for the army.

In 1817, the chapel was restored to the brotherhood of the Pénitents blancs. The municipality took back possession of the chapel and, between 1865 and 1878, used it as an annex for the musée d’Aix (now the musée Granet), where it housed the major Bourguignon de Fabregoules donation.

Paul Cézanne mentions the chapel in a letter to his friend Emile Zola: “Père Gibert* from the museum invited me to visit the Musée Bourguignon, and I went with Basile, Marion and Valabrègue.” (Aix, October 1866).

From 1880 to 1970, the chapel housed, in turn, a district school, a housekeeping school and part of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. There were also plans to build a new wing for the musée Granet.

In 1971, the city transformed the chapel into a conference centre before closing it to remove asbestos in 2001. In 2007, plans were drawn up to renovate the chapel, and it was reopened in spring 2013 with the Jean Planque collection under the name “Granet XXe”.