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Paris’s First Digital Art Museum Is Showcasing Masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, and More

By Sarah Buder

Feb 28, 2020

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“Monet, Renoir, and Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean” is on view at the Atelier des Lumières through January 3, 2021.

Courtesy of © Culturespaces/Nuit de Chine

“Monet, Renoir, and Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean” is on view at the Atelier des Lumières through January 3, 2021.

A colorful exhibition on view at the Atelier des Lumières projects installations of paintings by famous 19th-century artists on the walls of a former iron foundry.

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Housed in a fully restored 19th-century iron foundry in Paris, the Atelier des Lumières (or the “Workshop of Lights”) hosts immersive digital exhibitions that feature masterpieces by some of the most famous artists in history. The digital art center, operated by French museum foundation Culturespaceshosted a wildly successful 2019 exhibition devoted entirely to Vincent van Gogh—and its latest showcase will equally excite art lovers.

Titled Monet, Renoir, and Chagall: Journeys Around the Mediterranean, the exhibition is focused on 19th-century artists who were heavily influenced by the Mediterranean shores, fleeing Paris for France’s southern coastline where the light and landscapes provided bountiful inspiration for their work. It showcases digitized projections of more than 500 paintings by 20 prominent artists spanning the period between impressionism and modernism, among them leading artists like Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Chagall, and more. 

The digital art exhibit uses 140 laser video projectors, 50 speakers, and a “motion design” sound system that’s programmed to complement the exhibit’s digitized visuals.

The stimulating exhibition is on view at the Atelier des Lumières through January 3, 2021, in “La Halle,” the largest of the repurposed foundry’s contemporary exhibition spaces. Visitors to the digital showcase will pass by large-scale installations of artworks such as Monet’s Water Lilies (1914–1926) and Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette (1876) projected onto the 33-foot-high walls of the former iron factory using 140 laser video projectors, 50 speakers, and a “motion design” sound system that’s programmed to complement the exhibition’s digitized visuals. According to Culturespaces, the digitized artworks on display also extend across other features of the former iron factory, such as its interior chimney, water tank, and water-filled pool.

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After journeying through the digital art show, museumgoers can head to the Atelier des Lumières’s central room, “La Citerne,” to seek out further context about the real-life paintings behind the Parisian exhibition. Alongside the images of each artwork, information is provided about the museum in which the revered painting is currently on display, should you be so inspired by the art’s digital representation that you feel you must visit the original work.

The Atelier des Lumières is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m., and on Sunday until 7 p.m. Admission is $17 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and disability cardholders. Children under five enter for free.

This article originally appeared online in January 2020; it was updated on February 28, 2020, to include current information.

>>Next: 7 Real-Life Places in France That Inspired Celebrated Paintings

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