Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes — 3: XVIIIe-XXe salles & L’exposition temporaire

The left wing of Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes continues the right’s 18th century works first, more heavy glazing and daylight through uncovered glass. More assembling images from multiple shots. Quite a few didn’t make it. All of the riotous close-ups of Francois-Louis-Joseph Watteau’s La Bataille des pyramides didn’t either. Check your focus, Frances.

We get into a kind of post-mythological orientalism around here. Works like Jules Vincent Rigo’s Le Baptême de Clovis and Félix Auvray’s Socrate détachant Alcibiade des charmes de la volupté play with this, using elements of Baroque art—the theatrical, heroic settings, an indulgence of exoticism, and sliding into the explicitly orientalist in Antoine Jean’s Cheval arabe, when North Africa and the Levant became the subject of an anthropological documentary style of painting.

More Romani in Félix Haffner’s Halte de bohémiens, 1848, then the exquisite rendering of the woman’s clothing in Jean-Victor Schnetz’s Religieux secourant une pauvre pélerine, and then I’m spat out of the permanent collection into the temporary one, Rêveries italiennes: Watteau & les paysagistes français au XVIIIe siècle. Pretty much couldn’t photograph anything here because of dim light, shadows and glare—and no, I have no answer to how to light works that are glazed and dark tones. I do know using un-diffused spots for lighting is idiotic. The exhibition centres around a recently rediscovered work of Watteau, La Chute d’eau and northern European artists’ attraction to Tivoli.

There are goats.

One a Titian, Paysage à la chèvre, and one after him by Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières, comte de Caylus (and that’s the shortened version of his name).

Back into the permanent collection. A small bronze statue by Degas, Femme sortant du Bain, which because it’s him naturally looks like a dancer—which I like seeing in art and make an exception for him despite his right-wing personality and skeevy perving on young girls.

Finally, two 20th century artists from Valenciennes and surrounds, Pierre Bisiaux’s Saint-Tropez and Jules-Henri Lengrand’s Baigneuses. I just like these both, that’s all.