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Modern art

Cinema at last! Arts, images and entertainment in France (1833-1907)

90 min visit

Musee d'Orsay
28 Sep → 16 Jan 2022
Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 6 pm. Thursday until 9:45 pm. Closed Monday.

« The 20th century was marked by a major invention: the cinema! Discover its history, its undeniable link with the arts and its social power through mythical works of the Musée d'Orsay »

Everyone knows that the Lumière brothers, two French engineers and industrialists, are at the origin of cinema. The first projection of animated images took place in Paris in 1895. A real technical feat, it was a revolution that was set in motion: scientists and artists rushed to the incredible invention. Its perfect realism, that neither painting nor photography had allowed until then, catalogued it as a new art of the image in its own right. Everything is called into question: mobility, space-time, reality... Questions that we already find through classical motifs of painting, like the movement of waves or the agitation of cities. It is in this sense that Jean-Luc Godard said that cinema was invented by the 19th century. Heir to several scientific and artistic practices, cinema is also a new medium, a new way of communicating and transmitting information. The seventh art is social. It is the product of a nascent urban culture that brings a popular view of society. If cinema reached its peak during the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris, it is still very much in vogue. So much so that the Musée d'Orsay has decided to devote an exhibition to it! Both synchronic and thematic, it puts into dialogue the cinematographic phenomena that arrived at the same time in different places: the first French films of the years 1895-1907 interact with the history of the arts, from photography to the 20th century. The exhibition highlights the common themes between the different pictorial practices. Whether painting, photography or cinema, all have had as their objects of desire the representation of agitated crowds, the rhythms of nature or the movement of the body. The desire to represent reality as well as possible has always been present in the arts and was finally realized with the arrival of cinema. Even more so when sound and color were added! The exhibition closes with the years 1906-1907, when the duration of films was extended to transform cinema into a mass entertainment.


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