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History & Civilizations

Salammbô. Passion! Fury! Elephants! From cult novel to exhibition.

90 min visit

MUCEM - Fort Saint-Jean
20 Oct → 7 Feb 2022
From Wednesday to Monday, from 10 am to 7 pm (8 pm until October). Closed Tuesday

« On the occasion of the bicentenary of Gustave Flaubert's birth, the Mucem and the RMN Rouen-Normandie have joined forces with the National Heritage Institute of Tunisia for a first exhibition based on the masterpiece of modern French literature, Salammbô »

The publication of Gustave Flaubert's historical novel in 1862 had serious repercussions on the entire artistic production of the time, as well as on the history of the Mediterranean. Indeed, it contributed to the creation of a collective imagination around the Orient, giving it a sensual and violent image. This is mainly due to the authenticity of the novel. Flaubert travelled to Carthage in April 1858 in order to capture the atmosphere of Tunisia. But above all, Salammbô is a true story of war between the mercenaries of Carthage and the barbarian mercenaries. The latter rebelled, furious at not having received the pay agreed with the Carthaginians during the first Punic war against Rome (from 264 BC to 241 BC). Despite some truth, the facts remain romantic. The opulence of the city, the oriental splendour and the violence of the war described gave a false image of the country to Western readers - an image that later spread to the whole of the East. For this unique exhibition, 250 works from French and European public and private collections are brought together. Among the generous lenders are the Louvre Museum, the French National Library, the National Museum of Modern Art-Centre Pompidou, the Mediterranean Archaeology Museum of Marseille, the Cabinet des Médailles of Marseille, the museums of Rouen, Munich and Berlin... But above all, the National Heritage Institute of Tunisia and the Bardo and Carthage museums. Thanks to them, you will be able to discover archaeological treasures from the Punic period (264 BC - 146 BC). This travelling exhibition is also be presented at the Musée des Beaux-arts in Rouen, from 30 April to 20 September 2021, and will be at the Musée National du Bardo in Tunisia, in spring-summer 2022.


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