The first four rooms of Musée du Luxembourg probably reserve the most aesthetic shock you can get in Paris today. They are devoted to medieval and 16 th century collections of the Budapest Art Museum. And the small building in the Luxembourg gardens next to the Senate, is a perfect jewel box, for these exceptional paintings and sculptures selected from the 600 pieces of Prince Esterhazy’s collection.
Albrecht Dürer’s portrait of a young man, “Saint Jacques le Mineur” by El Greco (one of ten El Grecos owned by the museum), “Woman reading a letter” in front of an open window by Peter De Hooch, two beautiful Goyas only compete with a 1335 “Virgin with child” by Andrea Pisano, and Hans Hoffmann’s drawings of insects. Each of these 85 works are unique, including a strange Manet painting of Baudelaire’s lover whose white dress takes over the whole canvas and « New Eve » and « New Adam », 1924, by Sandor Bortnyik.
« When I visited the Museum of Art in Budapest, I never noticed that they had so many chefs d’œuvre », tells me Professor Eric Mension Rigau after his visit of the exhibition. The choice made by curators Laurent Salomé and Dr Laszlo Baan, is fabulous and Paris is very lucky to receive these treasures while the Hungarian museum is closed for modernization.
The rooms go chronologically starting with the Middle Ages and the German Renaissance with Dürer, Cranach and Altdorfer. Follow the Cinquecento, Dutch paintings with Franz Hals and Jan Steen and the show ends with interesting 19 th century Hungarian artists such as Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, and French impressionists.
It is a high quality exhibition and this musée du Luxembourg is so charming that you should not miss it. (until July 10 th)
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