A Diderot Itinerary at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes


18/3/13 - Scholarly exhibition - Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts - Though museums strive to increase the number of visitors, they cannot always welcome them adequately. The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes came up with the idea of creating itineraries in its collections, corresponding to events, equipped with a veritable short catalogue which, more than the audioguides on offer, help in guiding, educating and, above all, remain as a precious reminder of the exhibition which can then be consulted at home after leaving the museum.

In this way, the year of Diderot now serves as a pretext for publishing a work of about sixty pages, on glossy paper and with a great number of reproductions, enabling a juxtaposition of 18th century French works and the criticisms written by Diderot. This is a scholarly exhibition organized within the collections until 28 April. Each painting (only one sculpture, a Project of a statue of Louis XV for Rennes city hall) is accompanied by a short biography of the artist, to resituate him in the art of his time, and an extract from the Salons du philosophe (or the Essais sur la peinture), with either a direct comment of the work in question or an observation on the artist or the technique he used.
This initiative, aimed mostly at the general public rather than art historians (they may however find this short catalogue of interest to them as well), is among those which may succeed in establishing visitor loyalty by offering a different focus on the permanent collections each time. This is in fact what is at stake today for museums : attracting visitors to come regularly, not only for temporary exhibitions.

Version française


Didier Rykner, jeudi 21 mars 2013



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