Beyond Stars: The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky

Musée d'Orsay


14 MAR 2017 - 25 JUN 2017
Exhibit content
Exhibit set-up
Text panels
Visitor recommended
Overall visit

Connecting with an order beyond physical appearances, going deeper than material realities to come closer to the mysteries of existence, experimenting with losing oneself in perfect unity with the cosmos: these quests are all characteristic of mysticism, the spiritual phenomenon that exists alongside all religions, in all continents. Why not, then, acknowledge its presence in Western Symbolist painting, which, at the close of the 19th century, precisely sought to elevate art to the medium of the ineffable, and the artist to the rank of initiate? Organised in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the exhibition aims to look at the mystical aspect of the Symbolist landscape. In the West, since the Renaissance, and even more so since the age of Romanticism, the landscape has been recognised as the pictorial genre that can give expression to inner feelings through form – a genre that conveys immediate spiritual experiences that cannot be put into words, yet is based on the representation of a natural environment that is stable, measurable and familiar. Elevation towards the infinite, the trials of the night, the quest for light, the individual’s search to become one with the whole, the experience of nature’s transcendental forces: these situations, both sensory and spiritual, sought out or felt as much by the painter of the Symbolist landscape as by the spectator of the work, are like the stages of the mystical journey...

Visitor Reviews



Only two days left to go
23 Jun, 2017

A very positive general impression about this exhibit even if I was disappointed by the texts and panels which I found wordy and non-adapted to a large audience of non-specialists. The Musée d’Orsay is usually very good at setting up well-documented shows which immerse the visitor in a real story; on that specific point, it is disappointing this time. However some of the paintings are splendid and the themes proposed were relevant. It makes a beautiful and coherent whole, which is indeed an invitation to contemplation. I discovered a few artists that I didn’t know and particularly liked the series “Night”.



Une très exposition intéressante sur les interroga
19 Mar, 2017

J'ai trouvé le thème très intéressant, c'est ce qui m'a poussé à y aller. Je n'ai pas été déçue sur place, la collection est grandiose car des auteurs très connus se retrouvent à côté d'autres beaucoup plus discrets. Des écriteaux bien faits, mais pas sous chaque toile. Et un aménagement très mystérieux et plutôt sombre qui reflète l'atmosphère du thème de l'exposition. Je recommande !