(Re) discovery: The classical ideal in the collections of the Musée Fabre

3 November 2005 - 19 August 2006

Pavillon du musée Fabre, Montpellier

French painting forged its international identity as a distinctive school in the 17th century thanks to the works of powerful personalities such as Poussin, Vouet, Bourdon, La Hyre, or Stella, all of whom propounded a concept of ideal beauty based on the Golden Age of Antiquity.

Their approach became the accepted style for mainstream French art thanks to the teachings of the Académie Française, which went on to have an enormous influence on French painting as a whole. The "academic" tradition was reformulated by David, Vincent and Fabre, and carried into the 19th century by artists such as Cabanel. The persistence of this classical ideal is the central theme of this "rediscovery" of the Musée Fabre's collections of French painting, which are particularly rich in works from the Neoclassical period. The classical ideal inspired several generations of artists. The exhibition presents a selection of well-known works, together with a number of works from the reserve collection, unseen until now, due to lack of space: a welcome opportunity to discover their stories, and look ahead to the reopening of the new museum.