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Landscape... Window on nature

From March 29 to July 24, the Louvre-Lens invites its public to go behind the scenes of the landscape factory, presenting more than 170 works, from Jean Fouquet to Nicolas Poussin, Canaletto, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, Camille Corot, John Martin, Catherine Empis, George Sand, Frederic Edwin Church, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Vassily Kandinsky, Georgia O'Keeffe, Nicolas de Staël and Joan Mitchell.

Claude Monet. Les rochers de Belle-Ile, la Côte sauvage 1886. Musée d’Orsay © RMN-Grand Palais (muséed'Orsay)_Adrien Didierjean
Claude Monet. Les rochers de Belle-Ile, la Côte sauvage 1886. Musée d’Orsay © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay)_Adrien Didierjean

For Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), Italian art theorist and architect of the 15th

century, the painting is “an open window through which one can look at history”. This window, the eye of Claude Monet had made a living frame, in which he recorded the meeting of the elements in his "Rochers de Belle-Île" where the horizon only releases a small portion of sky, to express all the power of the sea. As Georges Clemenceau wrote, "Monet's eye, precursor, goes ahead and guides us in the visual evolution which makes our perception of the world more penetrating and more subtle".

Paysage imaginaire, George Sand, 1860-1876, aquarelle sur papier, Musée de la Vie romantique – Paris © Paris Musées / Musée de la Vie Romantique
Paysage imaginaire, George Sand, 1860-1876, aquarelle sur papier, Musée de la Vie romantique – Paris © Paris Musées / Musée de la Vie Romantique

A decorative element of historical or mythological scenes, the landscape gradually emancipated itself in the 19th century in an approach that was both rural and sensual. Whether real or imaginary, it becomes the main subject of paintings whose characters, when they exist, are only there to underline the scale where to inlay a trace of life.

Alexandre Calame. Arbre brisé au Kerket. Vers 1838-1839.© 2001 RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / René-Gabriel Ojéda
Alexandre Calame. Arbre brisé au Kerket. Vers 1838-1839.© 2001 RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

In addition to the creations themselves – famous or more unexpected – the exhibition presents objects that help answer these questions, such as teaching manuals written by the artists or instruments used in the studio or in the open air. All of them make it possible to follow the amateurs in their interiors where the landscape becomes decor, but also the artists during their expeditions, in their gardens or much further afield.

Vue d’intention de l’artiste (entrée de l’exposition) © Laurent Pernot - DR
Vue d’intention de l’artiste (entrée de l’exposition) © Laurent Pernot - DR

Sensitive and immersive, the scenography has been entrusted to the artist Laurent Pernot and the architect-scenographer of the Louvre-Lens, Mathis Boucher. Thanks to perspective games and the presence of sound and light, they will invite the public to live a real sensory experience of the landscape.


99, rue Paul Bert

62300 Lens


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



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