Musée d'Orsay, art in the Western world from 1848 to 1914
The Musée d’Orsay is renowned for being one of the most beautiful museums in the world and having one of the richest collections. Situated on the left bank of the Seine opposite the Tuileries Gardens, it has not always been a museum. Built by Victor Laloux for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, the building was initially a railway station before being transformed into a museum in 1986.
The permanent collections of this multidisciplinary museum are devoted to the art of the Western world – painting, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic arts, architecture, and photography – from 1848 to 1914; that is a total of 6,000 works of which only 3,000 are on show to the public at any one time.
Major works include: Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe by Edouard Manet, La classe de danse by Edgar Degas, Des glaneuses by Jean-François Millet, the Bal du moulin de la Galette by Auguste Renoir, the series of Cathédrales de Rouen by Claude Monet, the Cirque by Georges Seurat, Les joueurs de carte by Paul Cézanne, Les femmes de Tahiti by Paul Gauguin, Portrait de l'artiste by Vincent van Gogh ... The Museum has one of the largest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in the world.
In addition to the permanent collections, numerous events are held throughout the year: temporary exhibitions, concerts, lectures, seminars, shows ...
Symbolism in the Baltic States
From 10 April to 15 July 2018
A mystical atmosphere, a weighty cosmos, an unusually spiritual ethos: these are some of the concepts one might associate with a Symbolist work of art. It is precisely these existential questions that the exhibition titled ‘Le Symbolisme dans les pays baltes’ (Symbolism in the Baltic States) at the Musée d’Orsay examines through the work of early 20th-century artists in the Baltic countries.
In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Symbolism is inseparable from independence, which took place shortly after the end of the First World War. The emancipation of consciousness the movement disseminated is closely connected to the national and cultural identity in these countries. Oral traditions – occasionally written down around the mid-19th century – make up the first section of the exhibition, which displays works steeped in history, such as the majestic Viking war ship depicted in a painting by the artist Nikolai Triik, the luminous halo around it reminiscent of a science fiction classic.
The second section of the exhibition focuses – through some disquieting portraits – on the soul and its torments. The early 20th century marked the dawn of psychoanalysis: a factor that encouraged artists to reflect on how the mind and body are connected.
The final section features landscapes by the world-famous painter and composer Mikolajus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. His powerful Creation of the World series is an ode to the mighty universe – of which the newly emancipated humans experiencing national revival in the artist’s homeland make up only a very tiny part.