"Désirs & Volupté, Victorian masterpieces" at Musée Jacquemart-André
For the first time in France, the exhibition invites the general public to discover famous British artists of the reign of Queen Victoria, among them Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), Sir Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and Albert Moore (1841-1893).
The fifty paintings exhibited reflect the common desire of the artists to pay homage to the “cult of beauty”. As the leading world power in the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), Great Britain paved the way for extensive economic and social upheaval. The artists expressed a sensual aesthetic with paintings offering a sharp contrast to the severity and moralising attitudes of the day: a return to Antiquity, interest in the nude, sumptuous decorative paintings, poetic as well as literary expression with medieval topics, a legacy from the Pre-Raphaelites.
The very essence of these artists’ work, who made beauty an absolute and an art of living, was to seek aesthetical beauty. Women were the main subject of this artistic style known as the “Aesthetic Movement”. Their bodies were no longer hampered as they were in everyday life but naked, symbolising a form of sensuous pleasure and feminine desire.
Portrayed in a reinvented living environment, women are transformed into heroines from Antiquity or medieval times. Nature in all its abundance and sumptuous palaces serve as decors for these sublime, lascivious, sensual, amorous, kindly or evil women. Painting becomes a waking dream, with an abundance of symbols.
The paintings on show at the Jacquemart-André Museum, some of which are true icons of British art (The Roses of Heliogabalus by Alma-Tadema, Greek Girls Picking up Pebbles by the Sea by Leighton, The Quartet by Albert Moore, Andromeda by Poynter, etc.), are part of one of the most important private collections of Victorian paintings: the Pérez Simón collection.
- Open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m
- Open every Monday and Saturday evening until 8.30 p.m.
Admission fees and rates
- Full rate: 11 €
- Reduced rate: 9,5 € (students, children between 7 and 17)
- Free for children under 7 and disabled people
- Exhibition audio guide: 4€