Jul 7, 2018

A look into the soul of great masterpieces

Rmn-Grand Palais

In collaboration with the RMN-Grand Palais

Capturing one person's eyes through the eyes of another, this is the challenge many painters have faced since the Renaissance! But the eye alone does not constitute a look. A look involves the whole face, attitude, gestures, and is a window to the soul. In a portrait, it defines character, feelings, and moods. In scenes that depict daily life, looks can reveal what is going on. In the great historical paintings inspired by events of the past, mythology, religious history, etc., glances intermingle and give an idea of what is happening between the protagonists.

By way of an introduction, this virtual exhibition opens with The Wedding Feast at Cana (1563) by Paolo Véronèse, which depicts a famous story from the life of Christ: the miracle of turning water into wine. This biblical event is transformed into a sumptuous feast by the painter, in which looks are exchanged between the most diverse group of people.

This grandiose wedding sets up the first chapter, which is dedicated to the tenderness and simple happiness that a fulfilling family life can bring.

The exhibition then moves on to explore a range of emotions that can be expressed through a look. Covering several themes, this collection of masterpieces spans a lifetime from earliest childhood and first emotions to the biggest ordeals and passions...

...taking in laughter and melancholy along the way. Even the unflinching gazes of the powerful must one day look upon death.

There is a hope-filled conclusion to the exhibition however as, in a flurry of allegorical figures, the common enemy of all life is defeated, and Love is victorious over Time.

Rmn-Grand Palais
Credits: Story

We would like to thank:
- For design, illustrations, writing, and coordination of the RMN-Grand Palais project: Cécile Maisonneuve (Doctor of Art History, Policy Officer, Scientific Council), Nathalie Gathelier (National Museums Speaker), Annie Madec (Iconographer), Françoise Lombardi-Peissel (Project Manager) at RMN-Grand Palais.
- For reproductions: French museum collections represented by the Photo Agency of the Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais:
Montpellier, Musée Fabre; Versailles, Musée Lambinet; Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts; Paris, The Louvre; Paris, Centre Pompidou (Musée National d'Art Moderne - Centre de Création Industrielle).

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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