Musée de la vie romantique (Museum of romantic life) in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, resting the confines of the infamous neighborhood of Pigalle, exhibits artists of the 19th century artistic movement of romanticism. Besides its exhibitions, it has a pretty garden, hidden away from the commotion of the restless capital. And most important of all, it is hosting an exhibition on Baudelaire and the art of his time.
Paintings by Edouard Manet in the background. On the left, Spanish knights and in the middle, Angelina.
Latest exhibition of the museum of romantic life, L’Oeil de Baudelaire presents a brilliant collection of works from Baudelaire’s contemporaries such as Ingres, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet and Daumier whose works were also subject to Baudelaire’s reflections and criticism on art.
Left, a portrait of the famous La Grande Odalisque by Ingres, and right, a portrait of Baudelaire himself, painted by Emile Deroy.
Musée de la vie romantique presents the exhibition with a very elegant layout which uses its limited exhibition space very efficiently without suffocating the visitor.
Most important of all, unlike the huge exhibitions of Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay or Grand Palais, the Baudelaire exhibition is modest in size which in fact makes it all the more enjoyable. You simply don’t get tired to death and exhaust yourself trying to devour hundreds of works in a single exhibition.
Apparently Baudelaire fantasized about creating a Musée de l’amour (museum of love). Would such erotic images serve as inspiration for the museum?
The size of the Baudelaire exhibition allows you to enjoy and appreciate each work with a slow pace without spending tiresome hours squeezing between huge numbers of visitors like for example in the Louvre.
Albeit modest in size, some of the artists exposed in the exhibition are among the most famous in the history Western European art.
Musée de la vie romantique feels more like a provincial museum which is truly a rare commodity in the chaotic French capital. Unlike the gigantic galleries of the Louvre or Pompidou you can actually reflect and think on what you see. Then you will also get to enjoy a cup of tea and a cigarette in its movie setting like garden before returning to the Paris jungle.
Long story short, L’Oeil de Baudelaire is a very successful exhibition which presents a very formidable selection of works as well as a narrative of Baudelaire’s reflections on the art of his time.
Highly recommended for those interested in Baudelaire, local museums and 19th century French art.