France Elevates Medals to an Art Form at the Petit Palais
Until June 23, 2013 the Petit Palais will be presenting a dazzling exhibition about the art of making medals. This exhibition allows visitors to discover this little known art and its history in France. Guests staying at one of the Sister Hôtels Champs-Elysées now have the chance to visit this unique exhibition, entitled 'The Medal in France from the 19th to the 20th Century.'
The 19th century represented a grand era of medal production for France, as medal artists from the Belle Époque, like Oscar Roty and Clément Chaplain became well known for their achievements. The exhibition focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries and seeks to provide a historical backdrop for all of the pieces that are presented. As a result, the exhibition is perfect for history fans as well as art fans.
Masters famous for more traditional art forms, like Auguste Renoir, also tried their hand at medal-making during this time. Often created as portraits, these medals capture the artistic spirit of some of the greatest masters in the world. These artistic medals are much more developed than normal coins or honorary medals. Going beyond traditional medal work, they provide an extraordinarily rich vision of 19th-century society.
They offer a glimpse into aspects of public and private life, showcasing both moments from everyday life and significant historical events. These events include marriages, birthdays, scientific inventions and international political happenings.
Seven French institutions have contributed to the medal collection currently displayed at the Petit Palais, including the National Library (Bibliothèque nationale de France), la Monnaie de Paris -- where coins and medals are nationally produced, and the Musée d’Orsay.