Sometimes, when I’m feeling veeery peaceful, I like to pretend I’m back at the Musée Gustave Moreau. Nowhere else have I travelled that I have felt such an intense serenity and understanding for the art and artist that surrounded me. I was studying art in England and went to Paris for a fieldwork course, reporting on display methods and exhibit styles. I hadn’t really given much thought to Moreau’s body of work until I was in this museum. Truly, it was something to behold.
I have written about his art elsewhere in the Art Blogging series, but I’ll reiterate here that so much of what he produced was symbolism art with a Classical theme. Leda and the Swan are famous, and his Jupiter and Semele is stunning to the point of distraction. I remember also seeing enormous panels with cycles from the Trojan war, too immense for me to fully absorb (overwhelmed as I was). Thank goodness I had a task to work on while there, or else I would have stood staring like a codfish until they closed the gallery.
The museum and gallery is in the home of the artist, turned into an exhibit space after his lifetime. The first floor is a tour of the home as it might have looked, with the rooms set up and interesting furnishing abounding. The real treasures are on the second and third floor, which was Moreau’s own studio. The windows are huge, the space filled with natural light, and the most magnificent winding staircase takes you from the second to the third floor. Like many of the french museums, there were artists spending the day up there studying the techniques from the paintings, but also from the sketches and smaller drawings that were preserved in hanging displays.
I hope that, given the chance, you are able to visit this spectacular museum. Their website is here, and they are located at 14 rue de La Rochefoucauld in Paris.