Who are the heroines of romanticism and how are they represented in the arts in the 19th century ? This is the question explored by The Musée de la vie romantique with the Romantic Heroines exhibition.
A selection of a hundred works
Thanks to a selection of around a hundred works – paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and works of art – the exhibition invites the public to discover heroines revisited or invented by romanticism: Heroines of the past, Heroines of fiction and Heroines on stage. This three-step journey makes it possible to forge links between the Fine Arts, literature and the performing arts, which in the 19th century played a major role in the dissemination of a feminine heroism with tragic overtones.
A certain vision of the feminine
Sappho, Joan of Arc, Marie Stuart, Ophelia or even Atala: these women, whose dramatic stories are known, anchor in the collective imagination of the time a certain vision of the feminine. In the fine arts, as in literature or music, the romantic heroine experiences strong passions, experiences despair and melancholy, loves and dies of loving. Romantic artists, driven by a taste for drama, made these destinies exceptional subjects for their compositions. The selected works of Eugène Delacroix, Anne-Louis Girodet, Théodore Chassériau, Antoine-Jean Gros, Léon Cogniet or Léopold Burthe, most often depict these diaphanous and fragile women, bare, resigned in the face of an inevitable fate.
A focus on women
If the creation of the time is mainly the work of artists masculine, the exhibition also focuses on women of the 19th century who stage heroines in their works. The artists Marie d’Orléans, Félicie de Fauveau, Frédérique O’Connell, the writers Madame de Staël and George Sand or the performers Harriet Smithson, Rachel and Mademoiselle Mars, who bring to the stage the great female roles of the time. By taking up this still little explored subject, the exhibition questions the view of women diffused by the romantic movement, in a society which then leaves them little room. This selection of works is enriched by a mediation intended for the family public and school, sound content giving life to period texts or even a projection audiovisual which questions the contemporary posterity of these heroines.
16 Rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris