Facing the Sun at the Musée Marmottan-Monet

Exhibitions | A day in Paris

Aiming to celebrate Impression, Sunrise painted at dawn by Claude Monet 150 years ago (13th November 1872 to be precise), which marked the emergence of Impressionism, the museum is putting on an exhibition exploring how the sun was represented in Art through the ages. Starting with the ancient Sun God, taking visitors from the vision of the sun worshipped as the creator to the star considered as a divine creation like the moon in a world in which the Earth is the centre. Later on, Science gave it a new and even more fundamental place as the pivot of universal movement. The exhibition retraces how artists and those who commissioned their works made the main figure of our planetary system their own in the 17the century. Louis XIV went on to “confiscate” the image of the sun by identifying with it and the artists of that time produced masses of the mythical and symbolic representations of the star in all forms.

Sunrise with the Chariot of Apollo by Charles de la Fosse perfectly illustrates these recurring themes. The Romanticism period at the end of the 18th century depicted a more mystical version, followed by the sublime and the spiritual which emerged in the days of Turner and Caspar David Friedrich. During the next century two opposing currents gradually formed, one focused on naturalism and impressionism and the other focused on symbolism and soul painting. They used the sun quite differently, the former mainly showed the effects of sunlight and the latter portrayed a sun that radiates on all surfaces. The final part of the exhibition, from Munch to Fromanger, shows the solar globe “flooding the painting”. The selection of works on show combine historical and scientific evolution through astronomy alongside artistic inspiration to offer the public a genuine peerless visual.

If you decide to stroll around the peaceful 16th arrondissement afterwards, we suggest continuing along to rue des Belles-Feuilles. Enjoy classic cuisine in an authentic Parisian bistro with a décor dating back to 1940 - massive mirrors and woodwork, moleskin bences and checkered tablecloths. Dishes include marrow bone, garlic butter snails, steamed leeks with truffle vinaigrette, followed by veal chop or sweetmeats with morel mushrooms, roast cod, or vol-au-vent à la financière (various fillings), served with an excellent Burgundy and topped off with an exquisite pink praline floating island. The ideal food for this time of year!

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