Special Sub-Topic: The Delightful d'Orsay Museum
|The building now housing the Musée d'Orsay was originally:|
A train station. Built in 1900, use of the station was discontinued when the trains became too long for the non-extendable platforms. The Louvre museum (also in Paris) was originally a royal palace.
|The original building was designed by the architectural team of:|
Magne Benard & Laloux. Bardon, Colboc and Philippon did the structural design when the building was converted to a museum. Corot, Boudin and Cabanel are some of the artists whose works are on display in the d'Orsay. Tom, Dick and Harry -- No way. I just wanted to narrow your choices.
|The Musée d'Orsay was inaugurated on this date. Which?|
December 1, 1986. The proposal to build the museum was approved on October 20, 1977. The d'Orsay officially opened to the public on December 9, 1986.
|Which French president inaugurated the museum?|
Francois Mitterrand. President Charles de Gaulle died in 1970. President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing initiated the decision to build the d'Orsay but was no longer president when it opened. Edouard Detaille was an artist known for his military-themed paintings. A side note: When the d'Orsay train station opened in 1900, Edouard Détaille said it was too beautiful to be a train station and should be a museum. One of his paintings, 'The Dream', now hangs in the d'Orsay.
|This 1863 painting by Edouard Manet once scandalized polite society. Its subjects were two fully-clothed men and one unclothed woman.|
The Luncheon on the Grass. Manet must have liked scandalizing people, because only two years later he unveiled Olympia, which depicted a lady clad only in high heels with a flower behind her ear. Manet died of syphilis in 1883.
|Before being converted to a museum, the original building was the setting for what 1963 movie?|
The Trial. When director Orson Welles adapted this grim film from an unfinished novel by Franz Kafka, the abandoned d'Orsay train station was deemed to be sufficiently depressing to be used as a setting.
|What American-born artist's painting hangs in the d'Orsay?|
Arrangement in Grey and Black - The Artist's Mother by James Whistler. Mary Cassatt's Portrait of a Woman hangs in the Dayton Art Institute. The Black Brook is in London's Tate Gallery. Sunlight and Shadow is in the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. More trivia: one of James Whistler's assistants was Walter Richard Sickert, the man Patricia Cornwell accuses of being Jack the Ripper in her book "Portrait of a Killer".
|What prominent detail(s) of the building can be seen from the Seine?|
Clock. Gargoyles reside on Notre Dame Cathedral. There are many gilded roofs in Paris, but not on the d'Orsay. The east wing of the Louvre has an Italian balustrade.
|What art movement is represented in the d'Orsay?|
All of these (Cubism, Romanticism, Impressionism). The initial purpose of the d'Orsay was to house art from the Impressionist period (1848-1914), but it now displays art from many different schools, including Cubism and Romanticism.
|Many of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings hang in the d'Orsay. This painting is one of them. Which?|
The Church in Auvers. Van Gogh, one of the great Post-Impressionist artists, wanted to join the church in Auvers but wasn't allowed to because he was considered insane. Then, because he committed suicide, he wasn't allowed to be buried there. "Sunflowers" hangs in the Neue Pinakothek, Munich. 'Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear' is in the Courtauld Institute Galleries in London. 'Apples and Oranges' is in the d'Orsay, but it was painted by Paul Cézanne.
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