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September 26, 2020

Exhibition: Marianne, the artists’ muse

The exhibition is part of the series of events meant to mark the International Day of La Francophonie and is included in the programme of the Pasarela Fashion Festival.

The National Art Museum, the Arts Talents Agency, the French Institute in Bucharest and the French Embassy in Romania invite us, today, to the opening of the exhibition “Marianne, the Artists’ Muse”. The exhibition illustrates some of the ways in which the allegorical figure Marianne – the symbol of the French Republic and an embodiment of the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood – has acted as a source of inspiration for numberless artists, in fields like fashion design, film and performance arts.
The exhibition features 26 gouache sketches made by costume designers Alfred Choubrac and Minon in the early 1900s for film studios Pathé and Gaumont, which illustrate a Marianne different from the traditional representations. Adopting a warrior-like or seductive attitude, a symbol of freedom and peace, an iconic figure which transcends time, Marianne no longer wears the draped robe, reminiscent of the Greek and Roman Antiquity, or the liberty cap, the attribute of freed slaves, but is represented wearing a ballroom gown, a mantle or tutu, flirting with see-through gauze or tulle, sporting silk and taffeta, or modern hairdos. Nevertheless, she doesn’t relinquish her symbolic attributes: the flag, the scales, the sword and the laurel wreath.

Alongside the works of graphic art, the exhibition includes six dresses created by six talented designers – Lefranc Ferrant, Margareth & moi, Stephanie Renoma, Katherine Pradeau, Edward Achour and Repetto -, who offer a contemporary reinterpretation of Marianne. The French designers’ dresses are accompanied by the creations of successful Romanian designers: Wilhelmina Arz, Claudia Castrase, Lena Criveanu, Kristina Dragomir, Cristian Samfira, Florin Dobre, George Neagu, Iris Serban and Adelina Ivan.

Marianne, an allegorical embodiment of the French state ever since 1792, is an important symbol for the French people, whose image has changed throughout history. From the classical busts present in most of the state institutions to her famous representation in Delacroix’s painting, “Liberty Leading the People”, all the way to her figure represented on coins and on the French government’s official logo, Marianne is an ever contemporary figure and, as this exhibition proves, an eternal source of inspiration for the artists.
The exhibition was conceived by Didier Jovenet and Roman Leray from the Arts Talents Agency (www.artstalents.com) and was first presented, in 2007, at the Elysee Palace, to mark the National Heritage Day. The exhibition is running until May 29.

Venue: National Art Museum, Auditorium Hall Rotunda, 6:30 pm; Address: 1-3 Stirbei Voda

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