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Fenêtres sur cours

Representations of courtyards

Santiago Rusiñol, El pati blau, 1913. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelone
© Santiago Rusiñol, El pati blau, 1913. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelone
The Musée des Augustins, Toulouse's fine arts museum, is housed in an ancient convent built around a great Gothic cloister and a small Renaissance cloister. It is the ideal venue to host this meditation on the poetry of a genre. Collections contain several paintings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which depict inner courtyards, whether real or imaginary.
The theme is illustrated by pieces from the fifteenth to the twentieth century without preference given to school or artistic movement. Certain periods have been afforded particular attention: the Nordic seventeenth century for the courtyards of taverns, houses and fantastical palaces; the architecture painters of eighteenth-century Italy; the French nineteenth century for the cloisters reconstructed in the troubadour style or left in ruins, the Neo-Grec trend and its atrium, the realists and their surgical gaze cast upon urban poverty; Orientalism's appetite for patios, and Impressionism's, for the outdoors; and lastly, the twentieth century with its unconventional or poetic views of a location steeped in melancholy.

This is the very first exhibition devoted to the theme, and constitutes an original insight into the painters of landscape and architecture.
The heterogeneity of the motifs, the styles, the eras and the artists led naturally to an exhibition which evokes, alternately, place types and functions.

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