Berthe Morisot at the Museum of Fine Arts in Second Life

The Museum of Fine Arts: Berthe Morisot

In September 2019, I toured the Museum of Fine Arts with curator Tonem (see: The Museum of Fine Arts in Second Life), and was impressed with the care and attention that has been put into the gallery’s operation in making it as much akin to the experience of visiting a physical world art museum / gallery as possible.

Since that original article was posted, the team behind the Museum of Fine Arts have been continuing to develop the museum’s grounds, and also recently opened the second part of their exhibition of art by les trois grandes dames of French Impressionism, so this gave me a reason to pop back and spend time once more at the museum.

The Museum of Fine Arts: Berthe Morisot, self-portrait, 1882

Having featured the art of Marie Bracquemond in the first part of the grades dames exhibit, this second part features the work of Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot (1841- 1895), and it can be found in the Lindal Kidd terrace gallery space, which had now been increased to two side-by-side pavilions behind the main museum building (just enter the main building and past through the ground-floor exhibition spaces and exit through the rear doors to find the terrace).

Morisot was born into a family enmeshed in the arts: her father, while local administrator, was trained in architecture, while her mother was the great-niece of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, one of the most prolific Rococo painters of the ancien régime. So, even allowing for art being a natural part of her education, she and her sisters perhaps received additional encouragement in pursuing it. This encouragement continued through her early career, which brought her into contact with artists such as Édouard Manet and Oscar-Claude Monet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot.

Her own work was not publicly exhibited for the first time until 1864 – largely because she was a hard self-critic, destroying a lot of her early pieces because she regarded them as not being good enough – particularly her early work in oil paints, a medium she particularly struggled with initially. However, from the early 1870s Morisot began to be exhibited more regularly, gained a patron – private art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. By the late 1870s, she was regarded as the “one real Impressionist in this group”, and judged Morisot among the best of the impressionists by many art critics.

What is particularly engaging about the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts is that it amounts to perhaps the large single gathering of Morisot’s work to be seen in the world today outside of the Louvre in Paris. As such, it is a must-see for anyone with a love of classical art, whilst again demonstrating the uniqueness of SL itself as a means to present such a collection to what amounts to a global audience.

The Museum of Fine Arts: Berthe Morisot

In keeping with the Museum’s approach, individual pieces are offered to scale to one another and of a size equating to how they would appear in the physical world when standing before them. This can make individual paintings a little small when viewing them and call into use some steady Alt-camming, but the effort is worth it. In addition, each is displayed with an information card giving the title, date, medium and provenance of the piece – all of which can be viewed in local chat by clicking on a painting.

This is another engaging, engrossing exhibition of physical world art, offering a unique opportunity to appreciate the work of one of the great names of the French Impressionist movement.

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