Works exhibited on the first floor of the Collège des Jésuites – installed in 1630 in the city palace of the Bishop of Maguelone – illustrate the tensions that characterised French painting in the 1830s and 1840s. The art world was torn between the classical aspirations of Ingres or Cabanel, and the expressive emotionalism of the Romantics (Delacroix, Géricault...); between the advocates of a polished technique based on precision drawing, and the free use of colour as a medium of passionate emotional expression; between ancient and modern history (Monvoisin); between the depiction of the European world, and an idealised vision of the Orient. Landscape painting underwent a significant period of renewal, and was itself divided between a taste for the picturesque (Richard, Danvin), and the expression of a new, humanised, poetic sensitivity to nature (Corot, Rousseau). These diverse trends are especially apparent in the collection of Alfred Bruyas (1821-1876), a wealthy, passionate collector who devoted his life and fortune to patronising the art of his day, and the assembling of a truly unique collection of works1, which he ultimately bequeathed to the Musée Fabre, in his native city of Montpellier.
Romanticism and Classicism
Delacroix and Orientalism
Ingres and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts
Cabanel and the Académie