Spectacular Second Empire at the Orsay

To celebrate its third decade, the Musée d’Orsay is pushing the boat out with the exhibition Spectacular Second Empire 1852-1870, as well as a related series of conferences, films and debates.

During Napoleon III’s regime, the Second Empire was generally disregarded as a time of self-indulgent superficiality. A fresh look reveals a period of abundance and prosperity, where the bourgeoisie was fascinated by its own image. If that sounds familiar it’s because the curators trace back to the Second Empire the seedbed for the mass consumption of arts and entertainment that we know today.

Curated by Guy Cogeval, President of the Orsay and Orangerie Museums, this major exhibition presents a spectacular scenography, bringing together the most beautiful objects made by the Manufacture Impériale de Sèvres, cabinet makers Fourdinois et Diehl, goldsmiths Christofle and Froment-Meurice, and bronze makers Barbedienne.

Spectacular Second Empire 1852-1870. Until January 16. www.musee-orsay.fr. Full ticket price: 12 euros.

From France Today magazine