Van Oosten Isaack (1613-1661), Le Paradis Terrestre. Adam et Eve et les animaux de la Création. Photo © MBA, Rennes, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Louis Deschamps

The Origins of the World. The Invention of Nature in the 19th Century.

May 19, 2021 - Jul 18, 2021

Unprecedented scientific breakthroughs mark the 19th-century. Discoveries reveal the diversity of the world and variety of species; geology discovers the yet unimaginable age of the Earth and its transformations over time; the study of fossils traces long-extinct species.

In the second half of the century, Darwin and his followers questioned the origins of man, his place in Nature, his ties with animals, and his own animality. Scientific upheavals stimulated heated public debate and deeply influenced turn of the century Art Nouveau and Symbolist movements.

At the crossroads of science and art, the Musée d’Orsay devotes this compelling exhibition to the world’s origins and the invention of Nature in Darwin’s century, focusing on the impact of scientific breakthroughs on the collective imaginary world.

General Curator:

Laura Bossi, Neurologist and Historian of Sciences


Élise Dubreuil, Decorative arts Curator, Musée d’Orsay
Nathalie Bondil, Director, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Curator of Painting, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


Read More »