After five years of blogging about Paris, I have not yet made a post about the Musée d’Orsay. I have hesitated, taking into consideration that photos from the inside are not longer allowed. The rules vary from one museum to the other; photos are e.g. allowed at the Louvre…
I can somehow understand this interdiction. It’s quite frustrating when you reach the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and hardly can see it because of a crowd of people taking photos of the painting and their wife or husband standing in front of it. I think more and more that art in museums is to be seen, contemplated… forgetting about the perfect photo for your blog or your personal album. … and now, if you wish to see e.g. the Orsay collection on your computer screen, you can just go to the “Google Art Project” and find 225 artworks by 130 artists or to other sites about this museum.
But to be able to show the architecture of the interor is something different. I thought that I could be allowed to show one or two photos of the stunning interior of the building, which was first built as a railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. From 1900 until 1939 the Orsay Railway Station, which included a hotel, was used as the head of the railway lines leading to the southwest of France and later for some suburb lines. It closed in 1973. There were some plans to replace the building by a modern hotel, but finally – and fortunately – the decision was taken to classify the building and transform it to the museum it today is, opening in 1986.
There are of course until further no problem to take photos of the exteriror.
The station was originally built for the “Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans”, known as “PO”. You can read the different destinations deserved written on the building – Bordeaux, Toulouse, Limoges…
... and also the “PO” (which I could use for my personal initials).
The great clocks can be seen as well from the outside as the inside.
So, today, to see the fabulous art collection, covering the period 1848-1914, including some 5.000 paintings (Bashkirtseff, Bazille, Bernard, Böcklin, Bonheur, Caillebotte, Cézanne, Corot, Courbet, Degas, Daumier, Delacroix, Fantin-Latour, Gauguin, Ingres, Jongkind, Klimt, Manet, Millet, Monet, Moreau, Morisot, Pissarro, Redon, Renoir, Rousseau, Seurat, Signac, Sisley, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, Vuillard…), some 2.000 sculptures (Bugatti, Degas, Rodin…), photos, architectural designs (Baltard, Guimard…), medals, other artwork (Christofle, Gaudi, Guimard, Tiffany… ) the best is to go there (together with some three million other annual visitors), or possibly to look on the Google selection.