The Orléans Museum of Fine Arts honours one of its greatest artists, Jean Bardin (1732-1809), and with him the birth of the first free School of Drawing and Museum. This first retrospective exhibition has just received the label "Exhibition of National Interest" of the Ministry of Culture. This label rewards remarkable exhibitions, which highlight new themes reflecting the richness and diversity of the collections of museums in France!

Jean Bardin, one of the most great artists of the eighteenth century
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The exhibition Jean Bardin (1732-1809), the sacred fire gathers for the first time the corpus of the artist. Paintings from French cathedrals and churches (Bayonne, Mesnil-le-Roi, Charmentray...), recently restored, will be presented alongside works from major French museums (Louvre, Nancy...) and European museums (Albertina in Vienna, Mainz...) as well as private collections.

One of the highlights will be the monumental cycle of Seven sacraments, made between 1780 and 1791 for the Charterhouse of Valbonne and today preserved at the Charthouse of Aula Dei in Zaragoza. This monumental series is exhibited in France for the first time.

The origins of the exhibition
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This exhibition, initiated in 2016 with Frédéric Jimeno, artist specialist and scientific curator of the exhibition, is the result of several years of research. It reveals an artist among the main ones of his time, in the first light of neoclassicism. The exhibition catalogue is the painter’s first monograph and also offers a synthesis on the birth of Orleans artistic institutions under his aegis.

Jean Bardin (1732-1809), the sacred fire Thus deploys a journey from his beginnings in the studio of Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre until his death, which leaves as a legacy the foundations of the current Museum of Fine Arts which will open in 1825. This exhibition is also an opportunity to evoke the painter’s family circle, starting with the figure of his daughter, Ambroise-Marguerite (1768-1842), an artist trained by his father, the second Orleans painter known after Thérèse Laperche (1743-1814), which was revealed to the public in 2020 as part of the Jean-Marie Delaperche exhibition.

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Exhibition visible until 30 April 2023

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