Stations and museums ?! Are you wondering what they have in common? In both places, the past and the future meet, strongly intertwined with human joys, sorrows and beautiful moments.
One such place that has brought all these things together is the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. The building is located on the left bank of the river Seine. A beautiful place with a rich past, exciting present and undoubtedly bright future. The place begins its "life" as a railway station, where many began their adventures, longings and disappointments.
Today, it is a museum that holds unique works of impressionism and contemporary art. The building was built by the architect Victor Laloux at the end of the 19th century. It used to be the most technological and modern station, even with lifts and escalators for luggage. Its official opening was on 28 on May 1900, but in 1939, with the coming World War II, it was closed.
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The station captivates with its beauty and size. It was designed to create the comfort and convenience of waiting passengers. Although its splendor creates a sense of waste of funds, it is not. This was a well thought out move by management. Statistics show that with the approach of the railways to the capital, the number of passengers carried increased, and this further increased the revenues of the railway companies. But as electrification progressed, trains began to modernize and the number of wagons increased. The station proved to be small for long trains and this put the management in serious trouble. What to do with the building?
Orsé train station at the beginning of XX century
It was originally used as a theater studio by actor and director Jean-Louis Barrot, and during the Nazi occupation the building housed mail. It was not until 1978 that the then French president declared the building a national historical monument, and in 1980 it was decided to transform it into a museum. With that began the complete reconstruction of the building, which lasted for 6 years.
The project for the reconstruction of the building was awarded to Gae Aulenti. Under her expert guidance, the museum has acquired that unique "inner beauty" that, despite the small rooms that housed the art, remains fascinating.
The official opening of the museum took place on December 1 1986. The event was honored by many prominent political and cultural figures, as well as by then-Head of State François Mitterrand, who formally opened the doors of the station for visitors.
From the very first days of its existence, the museum housed some of the greatest works of art. Thanks to its close location to the heart of Paris, the Orsay Museum is as famous and frequently visited today as the nearby Louvre Museum. It is visited despite the Tuileries Garden and the Museum of Visual and Applied Arts on the opposite bank of the Seine. But despite its rich history, some people wanted to make this museum a hotel complex. Only public outrage has put an end to this crazy idea.
Even before the bloodiest military conflict in recent world history began, France became an attraction to many distinguished masters of various artistic trends, with the names of Henri Rousseau, Paul Gauguin and Paul Sinyak ( Paul Signac). Initially, their work met with public outrage. Accustomed to the classics of fine arts, here they saw a "scumbag" of different colors in an unordered fashion. But despite the criticism, many authors continued to exhibit their paintings.
Since its inception, the museum has built a collection of diverse works of art covering painting, sculpture, photography and decorative art. Let's take a closer look at the interior of this unique museum.
The Orsay Museum is built on 4 levels. On the ground floor, with a high arched roof rising above the visitors, one can see the art created in the period 1848 and the beginning of 1870. Most of the sculpture collection is located here, and in one of the two countries extend small rooms. There are paintings from different periods and cultural trends, including paintings by Gustave Courbet.
The first floor features paintings and pastels from Central and Northern Europe, England and the United States, along with Art Nouveau decorative items. The highlights here are the works of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.
The second floor is reserved for post-impressionists. The work of artists such as Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is honored. The latter is known for depicting life in the legendary Moulin Rouge cabaret. This hall also has a terrace which exhibits the works of Auguste Rodin and other sculptors.
On the top floor of the museum is the largest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world. It includes some of the greatest masterpieces in the field: the 'Bal du Moulin de la Galette' by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the 'Parlement de Londres' by the Claude Monet and the famous sculpture 'La Petite' Danseuse de Quatorze Ans " ("The Little Dancer") by Edgar Degas.
"Bal du Moulin de la Galette" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The Parlement de Londres by the Parliament
"La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans" ("The Little Dancer") by Edgar Degas
In addition to all these famous works, there is another landmark on this floor - these are the famous clock windows. They were originally designed to allow passengers to keep track of when the train will arrive. Today, these windows are just a reminder of the past of this building and where visitors can enjoy the unique panoramic views of Paris.
And if these clock windows once measured the time until the next train, today, though stopped, they "measure" in their own way "the timelessness of art." There is no appropriate time or place for art, only eyes and a heart are needed to see the beautiful beyond the stereotypes.
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