To date, France has never devoted a solo exhibition to Charles Gleyre. Yet he was a major figure in academy painting in Paris in the mid-19th century. For a long time, given the smooth perfection of his facture and his subject matter, mostly taken from mythology, he was taken for a cold, conventional esthete blind to the revolutions of his time. However, research into the history of art draws attention to the important role played by his studio, which gave us artists like Jean-Léon Gérôme que Claude Monet and Fréderic Bazille. Also, fresh interpretations of his work, including first and foremost the psychoanalytical analysis published by Michel Thevoz in 1980, have uncovered the fascinating contradictions of both the artist and his work. Placed under the sign of spleen and the ideal, the exhibition is an opportunity, through the major loan from the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne, to delight once more in the illusions of academicism.
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