Top Artworks of Orsay Museum That You Shouldn’t Miss

Musee D Orsay Guided Tours
Orsay Museum Attractions

The Musée d’Orsay is an important museum in Paris as it hosts some of the most important artworks of French and European Art during the period of 19th and early 20th centuries. Bear in mind that it is a converted railway station, adding to the element of creativity of the place. There are numerous artworks in the place that one day might not suffice if you wish to admire them in detail. Below is a discussion of some of the most iconic artworks of the place that you can visit on your Musee D Orsay Guided Tours.

A Burial At Ornans (C. 1849) By Gustave Courbet

An advocate of French Realism of the mid-19th century, Gustave Courbet strived to express a distance from elitist academicism through his artworks. This was in contrast to the works of several of his contemporaries such as Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Jacques-Louis David. He showcased a world which was socially aware and had the aesthetic sense too. A Burial at Ornans is a clear message of purpose. The poor dominated the picture, clergymen are depicted as cruel beings and there was a direct reference to the ongoing secularization of France.

Bal Du Moulin De La Galette (1876) By Pierre-Auguste Renoir

This painting is a testament to the rising café culture and the bourgeoisie section of the society that dominated the city in the 1870s. After the 1850s and 1860s, the French capital was uplifted from a shabby medieval gub into a modern city with the type of hip vibes you see today. The transformation meant that there was a renewed freedom in the streets of the city. People could now spend their days merrily in the streets, indulging in recreational activities, and chilling with their loved ones. This is the major theme of the painting. It depicts the boulevards of the city with its renewed fashion and romance.

Dinner At The Ball (1879), Edgar Degas

This painting by Degas is a very small painting and is a social commentary. It resembles the Bal du Moulin by Renoir with its colorful images. However, on close examination, one would understand that it is a warning and not a celebration of the bourgeois status. In the era of vibrant decorations, jewelry, expensive attires, and chandeliers, the people are reduced to mere faceless entities. The stunning image conveys effectively the idea that nothing is permanent or stable in this materialistic world. Hence, the artist intends to warn the admirers not to surrender the individuality for the sake of possessions.

Olympia (1863), Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet’s Olympia was one of the most controversial paintings of the century when it was displayed in 1863. It was a clear challenge to the traditional concept of nudity and showcased a contemporary woman posing nude and staring directly at the viewer. Olympia is depicted as a prostitute who is comfortable with her body and nudity. The artist made a statement against the convention of nudity. It also questioned the values of modern Paris, which still could not make peace with the idea of female self-assertion and sexual liberation. There were numerous critics to his work, who considered his style as flawed.

Bazille’s Studio, (1870) Frédéric Bazille

Frédéric Bazille’s Bazille’s Studio is a work that voices its opposition to the separation between men and women in the 19th century. In the painting, a group of men, assumed to be the artist’s friends, are indulged in deep discussion about many artworks that had female nude figures. These men symbolize the overall mindset of the society, which was dominated by men. The female figures in the picture are a metaphoric reference to the women who are trapped in their domestic circles, only to be judged and controlled by the men of the society.

The Cardplayers (1890-1895) By Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne produced several works that showcased the works of card players in the 1890s. The Cardplayers (1890-1895), is one of the most renowned works among them. The artist looks to express the celebration of the life of peasants of the era in his native Provence. The artist does not advocate realism and hence uses broad brush strokes to represent the simple pleasures of the life of peasants. The tones are warm which also represented the state of affairs in his place.

Self-Portrait (1889), Vincent Van Gogh

The famous self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh is one among the 40 paintings that he made on himself. He had moved to Paris in 1886 and learned the impressionist form of art from his contemporaries. He blended this idea beautifully with the Japanese woodblock art and created a fluid style. For the artist, these artworks represented much more than self-representation and promotion. These were an outlet that he used to get past a depressive stage of his life. The background is depicted using brushstrokes, which could be his way of expressing the alienation that he felt from his surroundings.

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