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Baudelaire's vision of art explored in exhibition at Musée de la Vie romantique
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), Ex-Voto, 1860. Musée des beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Agence Bulloz.

PARIS.- To mark the 150th anniversary of the poet's death, the Musée de la Vie Romantique is holding an exhibition of Charles Baudelaire's aesthetic curiosities.

Imagine an exhibition that resumes the dialogue between a young poet's texts and the works of art they describe. Visitors will be given an opportunity to step into the pages of Baudelaire's aesthetic writings, landmark works in the history of art criticism. Surrounded by some one hundred paintings, sculptures and prints evoked by Baudelaire, viewers are invited to compare their own way of seeing with the author’s of Les Fleurs du Mal artistic sensibility, and to understand how the definition of modern beauty was forged, a definition he would never abandon.

What does it mean to fall in love with the "virtue of the unexpected", to prefer a painting which is "made" to a painting which is "finished", to recognise the essentially romantic character of colour, without denying the "ideal" nature of line, to insist upon a certain "naivety" in artists that leads to boldness and harsh tones, to expect all works, whether portraits or religious pages, to "breathe love", and ultimately to acknowledge the "heroism of modern life" and the "beauty of the black suit"?

Alongside Baudelaire, this exhibition will explore transformations that came about between Romanticism and Impressionism by presenting leading artists of the time - Delacroix, Ingres, Camille Corot, Rousseau or Chassériau - painters who succeeded in delighting or irritating him. It will explore the notion of modernity, as shaped by the poet, in response to a changing Paris and emerging artistic languages, personified by the younger generation and the figure of Manet.

Finally, the exhibition will demonstrate Baudelaire's unfailing attachment to Romanticism and to Delacroix.

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