Musée d’Orsay: what are the must-see works?

The Musée d'Orsay is an institution with a massive collection of works of art, and is a cultural destination par excellence for those visiting Paris. The paintings present are mostly associated with the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements and are arranged within the museum according to the artist. Some paintings and sculptures are particularly essential to see depending on the route chosen, and deserve to be admired as long as they remain on display.

The must-sees of the visit

People visiting the Musée d'Orsay for the first time are invited to take part in the tour of the must-see works to make the most of their visit. This walk is divided into two stages, and involves firstly a stroll under the luminous avenue of sculptures. For example, Jules Cavelier's virtuoso Sleeping Penelope, James Pradier's Sapho and her Lyre and David d'Angers' Head of Goethe are all works that must be seen. During this time, visitors will also be able to observe the bronze statue of Mozart as a child by Ernest Barrias accompanied by the astonishing Aurora by Denys Puech. The second part of the must-see tour concerns the paintings, and tourists can directly admire the Portrait of Emile Zola, Olympia and The Fifre by Edouard Manet. Félix Valloton's The White Cat, Gustave Courbet's The Origin of the World and Jean-François Millet's Angelus are also visual highlights not to be missed during the visit.

The Impressionist section of Orsay

There are many paintings from the Impressionist period in different rooms of the museum. Family Reunion by Frédéric Bazille and The Magpie and the Cart by Claude Monet are also key works in the Musée d'Orsay, and represent an excellent starting point for an impressionist tour. The Impressionist art gallery is also filled with paintings by Auguste Renoir, such as The Ball at the Moulin de la Galette and The Swing, as well as Paul Gauguin's Women of Tahiti and Vincent Van Gogh's masterpieces, such as his self-portrait and The Meridian.

The route of realism and the unusual

The unusual and realistic tour is mainly reserved for a more mature audience to understand the context and meaning of the compositions. This tour includes artists such as Alexandre Cabanel's Birth of Venus, Henri Rousseau's The Snake Charmer and Marie Bashkirtseff's A Meeting. Visitors to the Musée d'Orsay with their families can also take advantage of a tour adapted for children. For example, the walk can be interspersed with humorous works illustrated by animals such as François Pompon's White Bear or Honoré Daumier's Funny Heads.

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