Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Virtual Tour of Dreams & Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing & Photography from Musee D'orsay Paris at the National Museum of Singapore until February 5, 2012 (1st of Two Parts)

When sadness overwhelms me over all the places we failed to visit in Singapore due to our rather limited time, recalling our visit to the National Museum of Singapore sets everything right. Every memory is still  very much vivid for it is not everyday that I get to enter a museum filled with such exquisite art collection.

           YMCA International House @ One Orchard: Our home away from home!

  Bala and Tutapel shown here walking towards our friendly neighbor- the elegant white building on the right!

                                  Backgrounder about the National Museum of Singapore 

National Museum of Singapore
Museum Signage

   National Museum of Singapore
The museum's wonderful green expanse! 

National Museum of Singapore
What a location! I was ecstatic when I found out that our hotel was just a stone's throw away from one of the most prestigious museums in all of Singapore!

                       Dreams & Reality Billboard at the National Museum of Singapore

What made our trip extra memorable was the fact that a good number of art pieces from the Musee D'Orsay Paris were on exhibit even a month before our visit. Please allow me to take you on a guided tour of some of the things that made an impression on me during our visit to the National Museum of Singapore. 

National Museum of Singapore

If you ask me, this particular design depicts both elements of realism and romanticism on several levels which I think is a lovely prelude to the Dreams & Reality Exhibit.  

National Museum of Singapore
Up up and away, my beautiful, my beautiful balloons!

National Museum of Singapore  
A gift shop filled with wonderful books and other souvenir items for both kids and adults. 

 National Museum of Singapore
Great Find: A reproduction of Van Gogh's self-portrait selling for just SGD 5 or around 200.

National Museum of Singapore
Free booklets for everyone!

      Novus Resto & Bar at the ground floor of the National Museum of Singapore

National Museum of Singapore Gallery Guide 

National Museum of Singapore Exhibition Layout 

The most anticipated exhibit of the museum and the real reason we were there was to see Dreams & Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing & Photography from the Musee d'Orsay Paris running until February 5, 2012.

                                                                              Museum Tickets

Originally, each ticket cost SGD 11 or PHP 380 but since R was an HSBC cardholder, we were able to purchase the tickets for half the price.

                National Museum of Singapore                 
  Museum Directory

National Museum of Singapore
Tutapel goofing around at the museum.

  National Museum of Singapore
Spacious pathway leading to the exhibit hall.

National Museum of Singapore
A bunch of Singaporean kids just came out of the exhibit hall as we were about to enter it.  

National Museum of Singapore
Audio Guide for Rent ( SGD 3 or PHP 102 each)

I can't help but be reminded of the audio guide lent to us at the Hiroshima Peace Museum a decade or so ago. Back then it was a huge cassette tape with matching headphone that I carried around which proved to be  a dinosaur when I compared it to the i-pod-inspired audio guide we recently used at the National Museum of Singapore.  

National Museum of Singapore

I was busy snapping photos at the time so I didn't have much time to learn how the audio guide worked. Good thing, I had a free tutorial from Bala. :) 

National Museum of Singapore

When I heard the museum guide voice-over, I asked the Lord to grant me a similar project in the near future.

National Museum of Singapore

As the pamphlet specifically points out: 

"This exhibition comprises 145 paintings, drawings and photographs from the collection of the Musee d'Orsay. The works span the period of 1848 to 1914- a period of profound change and contrast for France and Europe. Torn between the past and modernity, artists tried to reconcile the radical transformations they were witnessing and to redefine themselves. While some artists embraced contemporary life, others sought refuge in a heroic past, evoking scenes from literature, music and mythology. In dealing with modernity, some artists also confronted its harshness through the realistic presentation of violent struggles, while others found solace in solitude, exploring the mind, imagination and dreams."

National Museum of Singapore

It took some time for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. And since, flash photography was strictly prohibited inside the premises, I made sure to check my camera before any shot was made. Oh my goodness! I didn't want to be imprisoned just for that! Just kidding... You know how serious Singaporeans are when it comes to following the rules. That said, let's begin our virtual tour of the Dreams & Reality Exhibit.

National Museum of Singapore
Samson and Dalila, 1882 by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898)

   National Museum of Singapore
Gustave Moreau: One of the founding fathers of French Symbolism who popularized the use of saturated colors and flowing lines.

National Museum of Singapore
Hercules Killing the Birds on Lake Stymphalus, c.1893 by Edgar Maxence ( 1871-1954)

National Museum of Singapore

Edgar Maxence: Greatly influenced by Moreau's style as seen in his treatment of the painting's subject.

National Museum of Singapore
Venus in Paphos, 1852-1853 by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

National Museum of Singapore

Since this particular info card had a headphone icon, it meant that there was a corresponding voice-over explanation in the audio guide. How cool was that?

National Museum of Singapore
Siesta, 1889 by Hans Thoma (1839-1924)

                                               National Museum of Singapore

Hans Thoma: One of Germany's outstanding painters of the 19th century who was interested in both plein-air and Renaissance inspired paintings as a contemporary expression.

National Museum of Singapore
The Knight of the Flowers, 1892 by Georges Rochegrosse (1853-1938)

This particular painting was inspired by Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal (1877-1882). It depicts the scene when Parsifal, the chaste hero, destined to find the Holy Grail and bring Good to triumph over Evil, has just struck down the castle guardians.

                                                     National Museum of Singapore

Next Category: History and War

"After the 1848 Revolution, France entered into numerous conflicts, led by Napoleon I overseas and in France itself, many tragic events such as the war with Prussia in 1870 and the Socialist commune of 1871 inspired many works of art during the Third Republic."

National Museum of Singapore
The Convalescents, 1861 by Firmin Girard (1838-1921)

"The scene is set in late winter, with the patients walking towards spring and its promise of recovery and good health."

National Museum of Singapore
War of the Cavalcade of Discord, c.1894 by Henri Rosseau (1844-1910)

National Museum of Singapore

I can't imagine this painting being shunned by the elite Salon (pre-impressionism) painters!

  National Museum of Singapore          
The Enigma, 1871 by Gustave Dore (1832-1833) 

"Through this image of the war of 1870, Dore returns to the apocalyptic visions of his illustration for Dante's Inferno (1861)."

       National Museum of Singapore
The Dubourg Family, 1878 by Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904)

                                                                             National Museum of Singapore
                                                                          Henri Fantin-Latour: Master of Genre Painting

I hope you had an amazing time as much as I had fun sharing this artworks with you. Do stay tuned tomorrow for the last part of this virtual tour. Thank you!


Musings: Up Close Van Gogh's Famed Starry Night Over The Rhone
 At The National Museum of Singapore


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  1. I lived in Singapore for 4 years yet I've been to the museum only once --- for a small Ancient Egypt exhibit. I want to give myself a kick in the head for that. It's such a great place and I just took it for granted. :(

  2. Hi Mrs. A! I bet the exhibit was one rocking event! Oh, I'm sure you''ll be back to Singapore one of these days and catch more interesting exhibits like this. I'm soo jealous that you lived in Singapore for 4 years!

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