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The Orientalists

Ingres, Delacroix, Gérôme...

From 19 April 2024

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Production: Culturespaces Studio ® / Artistic Direction: Virginie Martin / Design and production: Cutback / Music supervision and mixing: Start Rec

In the 19th century, the doors of the Orient opened to Western painters attracted by the mysteries of far off lands. Dazzled by the light of the far south, which reveals the topography of these arid landscapes and highlights the colours of the buildings’ spectacular motifs, Orientalists like Delacroix, Gérôme and Ingres, and other major names from European expressionism, now invite you to embark on a pictorial expedition to the new, exotic and bewitching world of the Orient of our dreams. Delacroix’s travel diaries begin the tale, immersing you in an itinerary steeped in the play of light and shade, the scent of spice, the rhythm of oriental instruments and quick sketches of hitherto unseen lives. Then come other great names, such as Constant, Frère, Vernet, Gérôme, Guillaumet, Belly, Richter and Dinet, amongst others, creating what they hope will be a marvellous, luxurious backdrop for an inspiring elsewhere. They meander through the narrow streets of Oriental cities and souks, to slip inside shady interiors, to join the dance of the Oriental soul, and to stroll through the patios of sumptuous palaces.

Accompany the artists on their peregrinations and experience the gruelling journey across a merciless desert, relieved only by the occasional pause at an oasis. Come across wild animals, the hunting of such creatures being a subject of choice for the Orientalists. And to finish, oriel windows, known as mashrabiya, offer a glimpse into the mysterious world of the harem. This sensual world, so often an object of fantasy, remained inaccessible to Orientalist painters, so their portrayals of it are drawn entirely from their imagination. The steam of the hammam reveals bathers with impossible curves, and finally the curtain rises on Ingres’ Grande Odalisque, a dreamlike, idealised, Orientalist masterpiece. The dream comes to an end, and you awake from the fleeting mirage of an Orient as dreamt by the Orientalists, in the heart of the 19th-century Paris salon.

listen to the playlist of the exhibition

Opening times

November, December and January
Everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

April, May, June, September and October
Everyday from 9.30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

July an August 
Everyday from 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.


🎟️ This program is shown in a loop with the "Egyptian Pharaohs" exhibition.
🕐 Last admission 1 hour before the Carrières closes.


Full rate €15,50
Senior rate (more than 65 years old) €14,50
Reduced rate (students, 18-25 years old, unemployed) €13
Youth rate (7-17 years old included) €12
Family rate (for 2 adults and 2 children aged 7-17 years old) €42

Press Area

The Orientalists