The Marmottan Monet museum celebrates the 150th anniversary of the flagship of its collections, "Impression, rising sun" and pays homage to it through the exhibition "Face the Sun, a star in the arts" from September 21, 2022 to January 29, 2023.
A hundred works will recall the history of the representation of the sun in the arts from ancient times to the contemporary era. The Paris Observatory will provide a unique set of photographs, drawings, and measuring instruments to mirror the developments in astronomy and the evolution of landscape and atmospheric painting.
Whether in Egyptian cosmogony or in creation myths in ancient civilizations, the sun has been associated with the "Creator God", the source of life. Akhenaten dedicated to him, in the 14th century BC, a stunning hymn of fervent poetry:
"... You appear in the perfection of your beauty In the horizon of the sky, Living disc, Creator of Life, You rise in the eastern horizon You fill every country with your perfection. You are beautiful, great, shining, High above all the universe, Your rays surround the lands To the limit of all that you create. You are the solar principle, You rule the countries to their ends You bind them for your loving son ..."
Little by little, artists such as Rubens or Le Lorain gave the sun a central place in their compositions. In the 17th century, the sun will be put at the service of sovereigns by divine right, who will confiscate its preeminent place in favor of their own glory.
Thus, Louis XIV, the "Roi Soleil", who put on the costume of the "Rising Sun" in 1653, for the royal ballet of the night. Following the creation of the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Paris Observatory in 1666, artists were invited to illustrate major celestial events, such as the lunar eclipse of 1714.
Later, the Romantics made the sun the expression of a special relationship between man and infinity, revealing the moods of their characters, shrouded in a light associating the star with other natural phenomena, like the mist.
At the end of the 19th century, Seurat, Signac and Derain will apply in their representations a new pictorial approach based on the division of tone according to the theory of the optical laws of color by Michel Eugène Chevreul.
Albrecht Dürer, Luca Giordano, Pierre-Paul Rubens, Claude Gellée dit «Le Lorrain», Joseph Vernet, Mallord William Turner, Gaspar David Friedrich, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, André Derain, Maurice Denis, Félix Vallotton, Laurits Tuxen, Edvard Munch, Otto Dix, Otto Freundlich, Sonia Delaunay, Vladimir Baranov-Rossiné, Joan Miró, Alexandre Calder, Otto Piene, Gérard Fromanger et Vicky Colombet are some of the masters gathered to celebrate the most illustrious sunrise in the history of art.
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