Sunday, November 8, 2015

Splendeurs et Misères at Musée d'Orsay, Paris

I remember visiting the Musée d'Orsay a good twenty years ago (feels like the day before yesterday, though...) and having been very moderately impressed with its content. 
The low-expectations principle, therefore, automatically applied.

Despite those favourable circumstances, today I was yet again more impressed with the building than with the paintings. 
The bottom floor is horrendous, unless you are into romanticism and symbolism. 
The second and fifth floors were more enjoyable, though the large number of impressionists from a very restrained period (1848-1914) made them all but indistinguishable, with a few notable exceptions (Hello, Cézanne and Van Gogh!).

Initially, we went to see the permanent collection, yet as the imagery of prostitution titillated my significant other, we went through the exhibition as well.
It all became a bit too much for my already overheated brain, but I'll say this much of it : It was extensive and extravagant, overflowing with paintings (few of which were very memorable), photos, ancient erotica, books and even an interesting piece of furniture used by King Edward VII (allowing him to somehow have sex with two women at the same time - no further information was provided, sadly. I'm having a hard time visualising it - all the while carrying his considerable girth). 
In all, I would perhaps label the exhibition history rather than art, but it did avoid the pitfall of the 'happy hooker' myth, so I was thought it was OK.

 


'Olympia' by Edouard Manet, 1865


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