the travels & travails of an escaped lab rat

Paris: Musée d’Orsay

Like many of the beautiful grand Beaux-Arts-style structures of Paris, the Musée d’Orsay was built for the Exposition Universelle 1900 and started life off as a train station (the Gare d’Orsay).

By 1939, however, its short platforms could no longer service the longer tains that had become the norm for mainline services, and trains were shunted to the other Paris-area stations. Thereafter, the building’s use steadily declined until the station’s hotel finally shuttered its doors in 1973.

The French goverment decided to convert the old station into a museum in 1977, with construction starting in 1980 and finishing in 1986.

Today, the Musée d’Orsay is one of the most important art museums in the world. Showcasing primarily French art dating from 1848 to 1915, the museum exhibits paintings, sculpture, furniture, and photography from that period. It is probably best known for its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (certainly the largest in the world and widely regarded as among the best).

Definitely go to see the exhibits. Even if you aren’t a fan of that period of art, you’ll gain an appreciation for the accomplishments of that time. The curators also try to cycle through several travelling exhibits every year for variety and relevance.

If you do go, don’t forget to set aside some time to examine and appreciate the actual building and interior space of the museum as well. I consider the building itself a legitimate piece of art from the same period as its housed collection, and the conversion from station to museum preserved the best elements for show.

All aboard for the 1:10 to post-impressionism.

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Musée d'Orsay - Exterior (2008)++Musée d'Orsay - Exterior (2008)++Musée d'Orsay - Exterior (2008)++Musée d'Orsay - Main Hall (2008)++Musée d'Orsay - Main Hall Station Clock (2008)++Musée d'Orsay - Exterior Clock from the Inside (2008)++

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Posted in Places by madsci on March 18th, 2010 at 8:35 pm.

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