Orsay Museum: works of art and paintings that are not to be missed

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You're planning a vacation in Paris and want to take advantage of your stay to visit the Orsay Museum. Discover the Orsay Museum and not-to-be-missed works of art in an institution that is home to the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. We've chosen some of the biggest masterpieces of the museum for you, listed by artist. We've challenged ourselves with presenting you with three artists, with three artworks each, so you can discover the museum through nine key paintings.

Works of art by Gustave Courbet at the Orsay Museum

A leader in the Realist movement, Gustave Courbet completed many paintings, some of which are among the most famous and most reproduced in the world. The collection of works of art at the Orsay Museum was fortunate enough to be able to include some of his greatest pieces.

The Origin of the World

The Origin of the World is certainly one of the master's best-known paintings. This nude painting, which centers on the sex and abdomen of a woman, deeply shocked 19th century society, and wasn't exhibited to the general public until the 20th century.

A masterful work of art awaits you at Orsay Museum, which stems from heavy introspection and an iconoclastic approach.

The painter's studio

This imposing oil painting on canvas, nearly 6 meters wide, depicts the artist himself in his studio, painting a nude model. The seemingly banal scene belies strong symbolism recalling the Final Judgement: the artist is at the center of the painting, and paints all of society, both high and low, baring its heights and its misery.

A Burial at Ornans

A Burial at OrnansCompleted between 1849 and 1850, this monumental painting upended the period's norms regarding historical paintings, by depicting a scene from daily life rather than a historical, Biblical, or mythological event. The characters standing around the tomb have different destinies and occupations, and Courbet brings them together in a banal, but emotionally rich event, which is the disappearance of a human being.

Paintings and works of art by Claude Monet

Although the artist has a museum dedicated to him in Giverny, where visitors can step inside Monet's home and studio, the Orsay Museum is also home to some of his most beautiful paintings.

La Rue Montorgueil

This festive painting, painted for a national holiday, was Monet's contribution for the close of the World Exposition. Incidentally, this painting was inspired by the motion of flags floating in the wind. This is one of Monet's lesser-known work, but its composition and bright colors are still enticing.

Le Pont d'Argenteuil

When you enter the Orsay Museum, you'll discover some key works of art by the great Auguste Renoir, one of the biggest names in the Impressionist movement.

Gare Saint-Lazare

In the 19th century, the railroad stood for a certain idea of freedom and technological progress. The train makes it easy to move around and travel, and for painters to leave their studio and travel places to paint new subjects and landscapes. Claude Monet made not one, but twelve paintings of Gare Saint Lazare

Auguste Renoir

When you enter the Orsay Museum, you'll discover some key works of art by the great Auguste Renoir, one of the biggest names in the Impressionist movement.

The Bathers

Auguste Renoir's The BathersPainted the day after World War I, this painting in one among many concerning Renoir's favorite theme: outdoor nudes. He found his inspiration in the work of artists like Rubens and Titian.

Bal du moulin de la Galette

Bal du moulin de la Galette is a scene of daily life which Renoir wanted to freeze in his paintings. Completed in 1876, this painting depicts a relaxing afternoon in Montmartre, at the Moulin de la Galette.

Beyond the use of light, this painting is remarkable because of the people represented in the scene: the writer  Georges Rivière, and the painters Norbert Gœneutte and Franc-Lamy are in the painting.

Girls at the Piano

An iconic painting from the artist's "pearly" period, the paining Girls at the Piano is one of the most beautiful works of art on view at the Orsay Museum. This painting contributed to Auguste Renoir's renown and fame.

Discover many other works of art at the Orsay Museum

These nine paintings can't sum up the vast wealth of this prestigious establishment's collections, a true institution of French and European cultural life. Visit the old Orsay train station and discover works of art by artists as renowned as Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Edouard Manet. These are only some of the many painting luminaries whose works of art are exhibited at the Orsay Museum!

Plan to spend a few hours there, as you'll find yourself entranced by many paintings. Among the many paintings, discover Arearea by Gauguin, Van Gogh's room, or L'Absinthe by Edgar Degas... There are as many perspectives on painting and the universe as there are works of art, which propel you through years and seasons. You can also admire some exceptional sculptors, such as Rodin's The Gates of Hell

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