In September 2018, the Musée d’Orsay was voted as the world’s best museum by millions of travelers. The museum in Paris city is world-famous for its stunning Beaux-Arts architecture and collection of art. As it is a national museum, this was a victory not just for Paris, but for France as well. This was another reminder that the Orsay Museum is not overshadowed by the Musée du Louvre, which resides nearby.
Musée d’Orsay found its place on the map thanks to the following unique aspects. Understandably, it has not been a sudden climb to the top.
The Majestic Architecture from the Former Railway Station
The Parisian building itself is amazing to look at. Like many iconic structures in Paris, the Orsay Museum also had a long past before it became a museum. Between 1900 and 1936, trains headed southwest departed from Gare d’Orsay. The station eventually became way too old-fashioned for modern trains, and this was when it closed its doors for operations. However, you can see traces of the former railway station when on a Musée d’Orsay tour. You can see the names of the French cities trains traveled to and from here on the building’s walls.
A Haven for Once “Homeless” Arts
A turning point for the Orsay Museum came in the late 1970’s, when the Directorate of Museums of France agreed that a new museum was required to represent artworks from the 19th Century’s second half. There were many works of art from that era that needed to be housed somewhere, and unsurprisingly, the then empty train station came to the rescue.
The building in Paris got classified a historical monument back in 1978. A commission was formed to administer its adaption to a museum; the interior of the building was remodeled to properly house the intended work of art. The new museum then opened its doors to the public back in 1986.
Collection of Artworks by Master Artists
The collection in the Musée d’Orsay comprises works from the Impressionist and post-Impressionist masters, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, etc. The art collection of the museum features works from the late 1880’s to the early 1900’s. Therefore, you can explore this collection of paintings and more when on a Musée d’Orsay guided tour. Works from the “Impressionism” period has a dreamy quality to them and show traces of the psychological struggles behind their making. They paved the way for the expressionist artworks.