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Themed visits

Interior Scenes

Neefs et Francken, Intérieur d'une église de nuit © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

In the 17th century, interiors of cabarets are places for simple and sometime venal pleasures. The kitchen and living room become the private realm where everyday activities are shown. Strange rites sometimes take place in church naves, veiled in the shadowy darkness of the arches. Ensconced in the comfort of a harem, Delacroix’s melancholy odalisques seem to dream of a better life. The interior is more the reflection of the painter’s soul than of the people in the painting.

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The Nude

Fabre, La mort d'Abel © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

From the ideal beauty of mythological gods and goddesses to the realism of The Bathers by Courbet, since the Renaissance, the nude has symbolised the artist’s view of human beings. The bruised flesh of martyrs alternates with the discreet eroticism of goddesses. At the end of the 18th century, academic nude studies became popular. As a major theme of 19th century painting, the nude reflects the multiple artistic approaches of the period.

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Bénouville, La colère d'Achille © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

During the Renaissance, heroes were represented in many paintings. Erotic, allegorical, or simple decorative figures, little by little they came to embody virtuous examples to be imitated. Whether heroes of mythology, Christianity or history, academic painters used the figure of the hero to personify a certain idea of classical art.

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Dolci, La Vierge au lys © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

Since ancient times, flowers have been associated with the idea of the fragile and brief nature of life and beauty, both of which are ephemeral and destined to fade. Appearing in still lifes in Northern art in the 17th century, flowers often reflect Christian symbolism (The Virgin of the Lilies). In the 19th century, representations of flowers became more and more realistic and decorative (African Woman with Peonies).

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Oudry, Gibier, chien, fleurs et fruits © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

Fruits in paintings represents nature’s abundance and generosity. Fruits were Christian symbols in Dutch still lifes of the 17th century (the apple is the cause of the fall of Adam and Eve in Eden), and in the 20th century they became subjects of studies, with modern painters trying out new shapes and colours.

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