Anyone who, like Sunny, is into the Impressionism might be able to tell that the title of this entry (Impression, Paris, Musée d'Orsay) is inspired by the famous Monet painting, "Impression, Sunrise".
Unlike many other artistic styles, Impressionism was born in Paris. Back then, the so-called Impressionists got apprenticeship in small studios in Montmartre in hope of making it to the Academie des Beaux-Arts and exhibiting their paintings at the Salon des Beaux-Arts.
Before the Impressionism, the dominating art style in Paris was the Renaissance. The more renowned artists would always have a space in the Salon exhibition regardless the quality of their pieces, while on the other hand, young artists, such as Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, struggled to enter the exhibition even with the most brilliant paintings presented. By the end, these talented artists got tired of the situation and also intended to develop their own style, and hence, the birth of Impressionism, which is named after the Monet's painting mentioned above, "Impression, Sunrise".
Ever since its earliest days, Musée d'Orsay has been considered the cathedral of the Impressionism, thanks to its large collection of the Impressionism art pieces.
(A peep of Musée d'Orsay from the other side of the Seine River)
(The square outside of Musée d'Orsay)
Musée d'Orsay, located at the left bank of the Seine River, was once a train station. With changes of demands, the station had served its time and seized all transportation functions. It was transformed into the current museum form in 1977, and turns out to be the most acclaimed museum in Paris. Prior to our trip, Mr. T consulted several friends who had previously been assigned to Paris, everyone said the same thing: Musée d'Orsay is the must-see.
The architecture! The interior! The art collection! The concept! All of which show just why it is so beloved.
After the transformation, Musée d'Orsay still retains some distinct characteristics of a train station. Looking down from the top level, one can still see the outlines of platforms and train rails. The old big clocks are also kept for a taste of nostalgia.
Among the huge number of Impressionism paintings owned by Musée d'Orsay, some important works are:
《Starry Night Over the Rhone》 by Vincent van Gogh
《Self Portray》 of Vincent van Gogh
《Le Moulin de la Galette》of Pierre-Auguste Renoir
《Juliet Manet》(a.k.a 《Child with Cat》) of Pierre-Auguste Renoir
An important part of western artists education is to mimic paintings of masters. When we visited Musée d'Orsay, we happened to see an old gentleman standing in front of this painting trying to duplicate it.
《Blue Water Lilies》 of Claude Monet
A series of paintings of Rouen Cathedral by Claude Monet
The man in the photo was not talking over the phone; instead, he was listening to the audio.
《Lady with Fans》 by Edouard Manet
馬內和莫內姓氏很像，拼法只差一個字，又屬同時代的畫家，但其實馬內成名較早，在莫內還努力想擠進沙龍畫展未果時，馬內早在沙龍展出過畫作。1863年，為滿足眾多無法在官方沙龍展出畫作的畫家們，而開啟的Salone des Refusés上，馬內的畫作《草地上的午餐》（沒拍到照片，請點連結）因畫了一名裸女和一群衣冠楚楚的男士在草地上野餐，而嚇壞一干觀眾。這幅即具爭議的畫作也留存在奧賽美術館。
Manet and Monet have very similar last names and are contemporary to each other, but in fact, Manet got known much earlier than Monet who failed to show his paintings at the official Salone when Manet made it. In 1863, on the Salone des Refusés, an exhibition dedicated to paintings refused entry to the official Salone, Manet presented his controversial 《Déjeuner sur l'Herbe》 featuring a naked woman sitting on the grass with several well-dressed gentlemen for a picnic （didn't photograph this one, please click here to see the painting), which literally freaked people out and was vastly criticized. This painting is also owned by Musée d'Orsay.
Other paintings, such as 《The Floor Planner》 by Gustave Cailebotte
Cailebotte was fully trained in the Academie; thus, his paintings usually are somewhat more realistic than most of the Impressionism paintings. 《The Floor Planner》is also one of the earliest paintings portraying life of the urban workers.
《Dancing at the Moulin Rouge》 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Toulouse-Lautrec's paintings interest me a lot! Influenced by the Japanese Ukiyo-e, his paintings, including lines of human bodies or the composition, contain a trace or two of such Japanese style. He made many posters to earn money, and has profoundly affected the future Art Nouveau of late 19th century (the far famed Austrian painter, Gustave Klimt, was one of the important figures of Art Nouveau).
The Impressionism focuses on capturing the lights and shadows. Unlike the Academie artists, the Impressionists emphasized on painting in the open air, and neglected the rules of color applications set forth in the Classics; rather, the Impressionist tried to apply colors as they saw them. At the very beginning of the Impressionism movement, it is very much criticized. However, nowadays, for its ground breaking composition and color utilization, the Impressionism has become one of the most important art movements and many people's favorite.
Other than paintings, Rodin's sculptures are also deemed artwork of the Impressionism.
《The Gates of Hell》 by Auguste Rodin
The art collection of Musée d'Orsay is so abundant that it might take up several articles for me to introduce every piece that I would like to talk about....
At the north side of the museum stands an old clock. Not only does it make the scene distinct, but one may see the far away Basilique du Sacré-Cœur on the Montmartre hill through the glass surface.