Paintings, sculptures and art objects evoke the highlights of art in France, from the Restoration to the Third Republic.
The Troubadour style illustrated the lives of kings, painters and knights. This movement became popular in the decorative arts, with the cathedral style adorned with Gothic patterns.
A room devoted to Romanticism allows us to share in the literary emotions inspired by the travels of the painters who founded the movement: Géricault, Delacroix and Chassériau.
The 19th century’s interest in history, from ancient times (the prehistoric era was being discovered at the time) to recent history (the Revolution and the Empire), was so keen that it inspired a revival of subjects and styles which sometimes tended towards the pastiche (Cabanel, Tissot). Gustave Doré brought his singular and monumental vision to the Christian art revival.
The art of portraiture is presented in all its diversity, from the privacy of family life (Boilly, Gros) to the glorification of high society (Lhemann, Scheffer, De Dreux). The sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux happily rediscovered the skills of the early 18th-century portraitists to paint the likenesses of society figures in the Second Empire.
Sculpture is also represented by terracottas and plasters from the studios of Carpeaux, Carriès and Dalou. Sketches and models of the monuments commissioned for Paris offer an opportunity to rediscover the great emblems of the Republic that stand in the capital.
The realistic approach of Courbet, who has a set of major works on display in the museum, is extended in the scenes of modern life which echo the naturalistic novels of Zola.
The search for more genuine contact with nature, initiated by the Romantics, encouraged a genre that flourished free from academic rules. From the Barbizon school to Impressionism, represented by Monet, Sisley and Pissarro, pride of place was given to outdoor painters who experimented with new ways of painting, following the motif as closely as possible.