In this exhibition we explore the perception of the painters, and their capacity, through colour and light, to draw the viewer into a preserved, timeless world. We endeavour to show how they exceed the traditions of landscape, history and genre painting, and make the subject secondary to the search for ambience. We have granted ourselves the freedom to roam among the many artistic movements, nationalities and eras. Dating from the late fifteenth century to the 1930s, almost ninety works take us on a voyage steeped in history, to the remarkable settings of the Alhambra, the Doge's Palace, the Palace of Fontainebleau, the Salpêtrière Hospital, and the Mont Saint Michel. Our peregrination concludes with History on the grandest scale, from Queen Christina of Sweden to the revolutionary Louise Michel. This exhibition is the first to address the theme of the courtyard.