Opened in 1750, the Luxembourg museum was the first public museum in France. Its history is closely linked to the histories of the Palais du Luxembourg, where it was initially located, and to the Senate.
Now part of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux at the Grand Palais, it organises important exhibitions, such as the one dedicated to the most famous painter of the years just before the Revolution: Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806).
Landscapes, genre art, historic paintings and portraits, “Frago”, as he is fondly referred to, covered many genres during his forty-year-long career but according to his biographer, Alexandre Lenoir, “he devoted himself [mainly] to erotic art, in which he excelled.” Indeed, lovers are a central theme of his artwork and this is what is focused on in the exhibition entitled, Fragonard lovers, gallantry and libertinage.
Over 80 famous and private works of art have been borrowed from the most prestigious collections of Europe and the United States (including a painting lent by Jeff Koons, Young Girl Holding Two Puppies). Although the exhibition gives pride of place to Fragonard’s paintings and drawings, it also features works from his ambitious but less successful illustrations, including the drawings he did for La Fontaine’s Fables and Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso.
Organised around different themes such as, “the love of gods” and “dangerous reading”, the exhibition delves into the theme of love from the last flames of gallant love to the triumph of libertinage and the flourishing of sincere, sensitive, “romantic” love. The numerous allusions to literary works and the moral and political context of the time help elucidate his works in a very interesting way.
After your visit, stop by for a sweet break at Angelina, its delightful tea room located at the museum exit.
Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue Vaugirad, Paris 6
Until 24th January 2016
Open everyday from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Late opening on Monday and Friday until 9.30 p.m
From 7,50 to 12 euros. Please book in advance.