Values in France during the Enlightenment began to shift toward a bourgeois society where painters were exposed to new themes and new artistic experiments. The French Revolution, the prototype of all struggles for liberation, marked a new era that became deeply entrenched in the development of French painting. The exhibitionFrom Poussin to Monet. The Colors of France focuses on the effect that this dramatic social upheaval had on art.
During Poussin’s time, an argument broke out regarding the role of color in painting. Sensory experience and subjective perception became increasingly important until color was freed entirely by the Impressionists at the end of the nineteenth century. Paul Cézanne viewed nature as an arrangement of planes of color. Paintings no longer told a narrative; instead they gave to see. Color no longer depicted light; it became light.
The exhibition demonstrates France’s path to modern art with paintings and drawings by Poussin, Watteau, Chardin, Delacroix, Corot, Courbet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and others.