A Beautiful Day at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris

I love art. I have made this clear before. I love art because it, to me, equates to a visual book. It tells a story. Not only does it tell a story, it tells sad stories, happy stories, angry stories, secret stories, SO MANY STORIES. If you don’t like art, watch this. If you do like art, watch it anyway! (You may have to turn your IP blocker on to get it to play):

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I’ll never forget my first trip there. Seeing paintings that I had learnt about in real life, now in front of me. Huge, MASSIVE, moving, intricate, sad, lonely, beautiful, wonderful, these are just a few of the feelings you get when seeing a beautiful artwork in real life. So I HAD to take Mr John there even though the Louvre is Paris’ most famous gallery, Musee D’Orsay HAS to be done.

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Visiting the Musee D’Orsay in Paris

We were in the neighbourhood a few days before we actually visited, but unfortunately the queue was too long so we bought tickets online and returned another day. After queueing for a bit, Mr John hates queues, he went to enquire and if you buy your tickets online then you get to skip the queue and enter on the right hand side of the building. YAY! (There’s an entrance on the far side of this picture.)

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The Musee D’Orsay is totally different to the Louvre as it used to be an old train station. They’ve developed the museum quite a bit since I was last there, with more modern signs and seating for visitors.

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Upstairs it still has the most beautiful views across Paris. We could see Sacre Coeur, which we loved as we were staying on the foothills of the church.

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Sculptures are the first pieces that we saw in the museum. I’m not big into sculpture but I find it amazing how artists would take a rock and turn it into something beautiful. And remember, if you chisel that hammer a fraction too hard and knock too much rock off, you’re done! Time to start again… so these artists who produce something as beautiful as this have MAD skills.

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One of the reasons why I love the Musee D’Orsay is because they have some of the world’s most famous and memorable paintings. From Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin, Degas, it’s all there.

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Claude Monet at Musee D’Orsay

This painting here, Rue Montorgueil in Paris by Claude Monet in 1878 always sticks with me as one of the most obvious examples of political, social and financial aspects creeping into modern art at the time.

(**There are two ‘monets’, MOnet and MAnet. MAnet did the  barmaid painting, MOnet did the waterlily pictures. He did this one too 🙂 )

This impression piece uses small brush stroked to make the painting look like it’s moving. It’s about France’s first National Day. It also represents national French pride since it’s all about French flags being waved at the celebration. Pretty cool.

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Van Gogh at Musee D’Orsay

One of my favourite all time painters in Van Gogh. I love how his pictures ‘move’. It’s so sad to think how he died destitute, suffering from mental illness. He created some of the world’s most famous paintings that gives countless people around the world, joy, only to die alone and poor himself. How sad.

This is his painting, Siesta. It was painted in 1890 and is actually a copy of a black and white painting by Miller. Instead of black and white, Van Gogh used complementary colours blue/orange to make shades and light. He painted this while at a mental asylum 🙁

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Another beautiful painting of Vincent Van Gogh’s is Starry Night (Over the Rhone). It was painted in 1888 in Arle, a French town, just up the river from where Vincent was living at the time. It depicts the starry night sky above the Rhone River. This concept haunted Vincent, he would write letters to his siblings saying that he wanted to paint night time as he felt it has almost more depth than day time and of course, finding the colours to do so was a challenge for him. Light is very important to an artist so these outside night time ‘shots’ were new and unusual.

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Monet at Musee D’Orsay in Paris

Another wonderful set of paintings that I was lucky enough to see at the Musee D’Orsay was Monet’s (lilly guy and French flags guy above), Rouen Cathedral. This is special as many people think it’s Notre Dame, but it’s not – it’s actually a cathedral in Normandy. In this series Monet painted the same building at different times of day.

I love these paintings because we’ve all seen YouTube videos where a photographer or Instagrammer takes a picture of the same thing, for a year, and then compiles them into one video and we can see how things grow and change. That’s kind like what these pictures do. It’s the same church, except in different seasons and time of day, again, light. Wonderful.

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Other interesting paintings included a self portrait of Vincent. THE CREATOR of the selfie 😉 Take that Kim Kardashian! Well, Vincent painted nearly as many self portraits as Kim K’s taken. And again, explores light and time.

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Degas at Musee D’Orsay

We also managed to see some Degas who is famous for painting ballerinas:

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Signac at Musee D’Orsay

And pointalism painter Signac’s Port of Rochelle – only holding down pixelated images since the 20th century 😉

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Gauguin in Musee D’Orsay

The gallery also had Gauguin’s Vairumati. Gauguin is known for his bold use of colour and was also one the first and most popular painters to paint women of colour or island decent, if I can put it that way. He encapsulated these beautiful women and represented them with dignity and grace. Bestie’s with Van Gogh, until the night VG decided to cut his ear off, they were close and continued to paint during the 20th century.

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Manet in Paris

Here’s a Manet (not MOnet, the waterlily, flags and building painter above!):

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The Musee D’Orsay also has some beautiful sculptures. As mentioned, I’m not a big sculpture fan but these are brilliant because they tell an immediate story that touches your heart – you feel something when you look at them.

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Musee D’Orsay Information

Photographs in the Musee D’Orsay

These days you’re able to take pictures inside the galleries. This is brilliant as you want to go back and look at everything you saw because there’s SO much, you can’t remember everything you took in.

Musee D’Orsay Entry Fees

It cost us 14 Euros to buy our tickets online.

It allowed us to skip the queue. I would recommend going early (10am) because they let more and more people into the museum as the day goes on – but you’re never chased out. So it gets fuller and fuller. Go early, or go late, but don’t go anywhere in between!

Backpacks

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris, you are not able to bring backpacks or suitcases into the Musee D’Orsay, so wear a jacket or handbag that your camera or mobile will fit into 😉 .

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In Closing…

I absolutely love digital technology as it allows me to express myself, but as someone who did art and music for Matric, I will never lose my appreciation for the artists who had to paint and draw and sculpt to tell their stories. Not to forget to mention those who had to actually make the paint to paint the stories! Stories that meant nothing to nobody (Van Gogh) and something to everyone (Da Vinci).

I’ll always have the upmost respect for artists who spent LIFETIMES, yes LIFETIMES sharing their visuals, capturing the present and exploring the future. This is why I had a wonderful day at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

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This post is dedicated to Adam, who kindly gifted us tickets to the Musee D’Orsay for our Wedding. Thank you Adam!

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