There is no draught in this train station ,just art and light !Inaugrates during the Exposition Universelle of 1900,the Orsay train station resembeled a fine arts palace to the painter Edouard Detaille ….which was what it was to become 86 years later .
Unsuitable for modern trains, its deserted platforms finally closed in 1979. Plans to demolish it in 1970 were overturned just in time and it became a listed building.
Its immense volume was transformed into a museum whose canopy, nave, cupolas, pillars, iron girders, and stucco decors draws unanimous praise.
The huge clock in the glass roof of the central alley dominates a chronological layout over three main levels,focusing on the major artistic movement in western art from 1848 to 1914: painting, sculpture, graphic arts and art object, as well as furniture, architecture, and photography,
The period was so productive, the collections so rich in wonderful works (and in -ism: expressionism, fauvism,etc.)that it seems impossible to cite one unique masterpiece.
La Vie (Zervos I 179)
is a 1903 oil painting by Pablo Picasso. It is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Picasso’s Blue Period.[
The painting is in the permanent collection of the Musée d’Orsay .
La Vie (The Life) was painted in Barcelona in May 1903. It is 196.5 by 129.2 centimeters (6.45 ft × 4.24 ft) and portrays two pairs of people, a naked couple confronting a mother bearing a child in her arms.
In the background of the room, apparently a studio, there are two paintings within the painting, the upper one showing a crouching and embracing nude couple, the lower one showing a lonesome crouching nude person very similar to Sorrow by Vincent Van Gogh.
With this Picasso repainted another motif, a birdman who attacks a reclining naked woman, traces of which are visible to the naked eye.
An important example of expressionism, La Vie was Picasso’s memorial tribute to his close friend Carlos Casagemas (1881-1901), a fellow Spanish art student who had accompanied him on his first trip to Paris (October 1900), where they established themselves temporarily in the Montmartre studio of Isidre Nonell (1872-1911), a friend from Barcelona.
A moody individual with a taste for Nietzsche and a tendency to depression, Casagemas fell in love with an artist’s model called Germaine Pichot (1880-1948).
Germaine rejected his advances – either because she was already married, or because he was impotent. And so, on February 17th of the following year, when Picasso was in Spain, Casagemas went out to dinner with friends at the L’Hippodrome, and at about 9:00 p.m. stood up, gave a brief speech and then pulled out a pistol and shot Germaine in the head.
Not realizing that the bullet had only grazed her temple, he then shot himself in the head. It was the death of his young friend that triggered Picasso’s so-called ‘Blue Period’, and opened up a new chapter of Spanish Painting in Paris.
Lady Liberty in Orsay
This version, a little under three meters high, was commissioned by Bartholdi himself in 1889, and subsequently exhibited in 1900 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
That same year, the sculptor expressed a hope that the State would buy it, along with several other models including the Lion of Belfort, for the Musée du Luxembourg (the museum of modern art of its time).
He declared that “these works are interesting because they have greatly contributed to the esteem in which I am held by my contemporary artists”.
As there were no works by Bartholdi in Luxembourg at that time, he undertook to give them some in return for the cost of the casting alone. His proposal was accepted, although the museum was unable to find a place for them in their already very full rooms.
The solution was found in 1905, after the death of Bartholdi. The sculptor’s widow suggested putting Liberty outside the museum in the gardens. It would stay there for 115 years, from 1906 to 2011, until the Senate, which owns the Luxembourg Gardens, generously agreed to return the work to the Musée d’Orsay.
The Birth of Venus (French: Naissance de Venus) is a painting by the French artist Alexandre Cabanel. It was painted in 1863, and is now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
At the Salon of 1863, The Birth of Venus was one of a multitude of female nudes. Bathed in opalescent colors, the goddess Venus shyly looks to the viewer from beneath the crook of her elbow. Two years later, Manet presented his now renowned painting Olympia at the Salon as well. Today both hang in the Musee de’ Orsay.
Unlike Venus’s ethereal-like palette, Manet painted Olympia with pale, placid skin tone, and darkly outlined the figure. Her only seemingly modest gesture is the placement of her hand over her leg, though it is not out of shyness- one must pay before they can see.
James Rubin writes of the two works: “The Olympia is often compared to Cabanel’s Birth of Venus, for the latter is a far more sexually appealing work, despite its mythological guise… It is evident Manet’s demythologizing of the female nude was foremost a timely reminder of modern realities.
The majority of critics attacked the painting with unmitigated disgust…: “What is this odalisque with the yellow belly, ignoble model dredged up from who knows where?” [And] “The painter’s attitude is of inconceivable vulgarity
The enormous Studio is, without doubt, Courbet’s most mysterious composition. However, he provides several clues to its interpretation: “It’s the whole world coming to me to be painted”, he declared, “on the right, all the shareholders, by that I mean friends, fellow workers, art lovers.
On the left is the other world of everyday life, the masses, wretchedness, poverty, wealth, the exploited and the exploiters, people who make a living from death”.
In the first group, those on the right, we can recognize the bearded profile of the art collector Alfred Bruyas, and behind him, facing us, the philosopher Proudhon.
The critic Champfleury is seated on a stool, while Baudelaire is absorbed in a book. The couple in the foreground personifies art lovers, and near the window, two lovers represent free love.
On the side of “everyday life”, we find a priest, a merchant, a hunter who somewhat resembles Napoleon III, and even an unemployed worker and a beggar girl symbolizing poverty.
We can also see the guitar, the dagger and the hat, which, together with the male model, condemn traditional academic art.
In this vast allegory, truly a manifesto painting, each figure has a different meaning. And in the middle of all this stands Courbet himself, flanked by benevolent figures: a female muse, naked like the Truth, a child, and a cat.
In the center, the painter presents himself as a mediator. Courbet thus affirms the artist’s role in society in an enormous scene on the scale of a history painting. When faced with the rejection of his painting, intended for the 1855 Universal Exhibition, Courbet built a “Pavilion of Realism” at his own expense.
Here, outside the official event, he organized his own exhibition, which also includes Burial at Ornans, so that his work could be available to the whole of society.