Paris Museum Crawl Part 2: Musée d’Orsay
By Leslie Fray
Strolling along the banks of the Seine in the heart of Paris… what to do? Ahh, so many choices…. Sooner or later your going to run into what used to be the Orsay railway station, what is now known as the Orsay Museum. This superb museum is a must-see for all fans of the Impressionist period, featuring a collection of artwork dating from 1848 to 1914.
There are also several exhibitions going on this summer that seem quite interesting: Running through July 19th, is an exhibit called “See Italy and Die. Photography and Painting in 19th Century Italy.” Quite an intense name for an exhibition, no?
The invention of photography in 1839 introduced a whole new side to the art world that artists such as Carlo Naya and the Alinari Brothers, artists who took up photography right around the boom of tourism in Italy, had never seen before. The exhibition follows the evolution of Rome’s history through the medium of photographs, prints, paintings, and sculptures. From the creation of the Daguerrotype, the earliest type of photograph, to the paintings of the Risorgimiento (Rebirth) ,all the way to the excavations of Pompei, this exhibition is a treat for the eye!
Here is an albumen print by Gioacchino Altobelli called Rome, moonlight on the Forum (c. 1865). The albumen printing method was the first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base from a negative.
Here is another Albumen print by Wilhelm von Gloeden, Cain
Here is an oil on canvas by Friederich Nerly, Venice, Moonlight on the Piazza San Marco :
Another exhibition that you can catch this summer is called “The Italy of Architects, from layout to invention”. In hopes of awakening their artistic senses and inspiring their creative spirits, many artists fled to Italy to study the beauty of Italian architecture. This exhibition, also running through July 19th, presents drawings and paintings, architectural designs, like the the model of the Paris Opera, [like what?] and restoration pieces like interior of ancient basilica by Jacques Ignace Hittorff.
Temple T in Selinonte, restored elevation of the main facade, Jacques Ignace Hittorff
Pitti Palace, Florence, Henri Paul Nénot
The exhibition that I am most excited about, however, is called “Italian Models: Hérbert and the Peasants of Latium”. This exhibition features the savagely exquisite nature that artist Ernest Hérbert captured in his paintings of Italian women peasants. Instead of portraying Italian peasant life with a sentimentality that comments on the primitive ways of the people, Hérbert creates a magical and seductive depiction of these women and their way of life. Here are a few examples of this exquisite collection of work:
Rosa Nera at the Fountain
Portrait of Crescenza
Of course, no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit through the Orsay’s vast permanent collection where one can easily get lost amidst all the paintings, sculptures, photographs, objets d’art and more.
You may favor the Monets….
Londres, le Parlement. Trouée de soleil dans le brouillard
La guingette à Montmartre
L’église d’Auvers-sur-Oise, vue du chevet
Or perhaps the Renoirs….
Danse à la campagne
Le Garçon au Chat
Or sculptures may be your preference….
Angles, Joachim- Jeune Femme aux Pavots
In any case, the Musee d’Orsay has something for everyone. Allow yourself at least several hours, for once inside….