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Themed visits

Writers and Readers

Metsu, Jeune homme écrivant © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

Saint Jerome and his bible, Baudelaire writing, Bruyas as a philosopher meditating in the darkness of his study, all are symbols of learnedness and transmission of knowledge. But the letter being written or read can become a message with love-related undertones. Reading and singing from a piece of sheet music, or falling asleep over a book are possible approaches to cultural activities based on pleasure.

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Cloth and Fabric

Bourdon, L'homme aux rubans noirs © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

Representing the clothes and fabrics in a painting is a way for the artist to confront reality and show the virtuosity of his painting technique. Rendering rugs, velvet, brocade, silk, and furs was a challenge for the painter, working with only brushes, pigments and a binder (egg yolk or oil).

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The artist's life

Glaize, Intérieur du cabinet de Bruyas © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

The representation of a work of art within a painting is a very old Flemish tradition that dates back to the late 16th century. At that time it was done to show the taste of certain art lovers. This tradition is seen in the Portrait of Bruyas in his Studio by Tassaert. But painting a work in a painting can also be an homage to another painter or an allegory for the life of an artist.

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Barye, Thésée combattant le Minotaure © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

Phantasmagorical creatures such as mythological monsters, dragons, centaurs, and creatures that are half-man, half-beast inhabit the imagination and often appear in works of art. Such monsters are also often included in representations of Hell.

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Zurbaran, L'Ange Gabriel © Musée Fabre / Montpellier Agglomération

Since the Middle Ages, angels have assisted, consoled and accompanied biblical characters. Gabriel announced to Mary her coming motherhood and an angel often brought the palm of martyrdom to virtuous Christians. Before his fall, Lucifer was the favourite angel, and Cabanel painted him as a disturbingly beautiful young man. Cupid, Eros, and putti are always the companions of Venus and any love story. Though they have wings and are often pudgy, they are not angels.

All the works of this itinerary