Come closer to this fine ceiling

On this Christmas Eve here is a kind of Christmas present from our photographer who pressed the button on his camera, from the workers who erected the huge scaffolding that fills all the space of the auditorium, from the architects and engineers who designed the whole thing. 

Published on 22 December 2015

You have already been told about this metallic monster that enables those who heave themselves up to reach out their hands and almost touch the ceiling (here are two pictures taken before the installation). Unfortunately, the public is not allowed to come but whoever has the privilege to climb up there feels something extraordinary. Since the construction of the cupola and the painting of the work by Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902) titled The Glorification of Music (1898) very few have had the opportunity to be so close to the work. From the orchestra or even from the gallery it is too far up and inaccessible to the eye. As the painting radiates color and grace, it is necessary to be very close to value all its finer points.


The images speak for themselves here and refer to two other works of art. The first one is closely related to our ceiling as the sketch of The Glorification of Music is exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay without the colors and details that make up the charm of the painting. The second one refers to an outstanding exhibition at the Cité de la Musique about Marc Chagall and the triumph of music. The exhibition features a model of Chagall's painting displayed on the Opéra Garnier's ceiling (1964) with a soundtrack consisting of famous titles from the operatic repertoire that starts each time a magnifier passes over the name of a composer that refers to a title (in collaboration with Google).


Returning to our construction site, the frieze around Benjamin-Constant's painting is studded with figures and statues. The inspiration, drawn from Greek and Roman mythologies and the artist's commitment to the Republic, is rather puzzling. It's like a link that reconciles heaven and earth. It's exactly what is achieved by this scaffolding to be dismantled in 2016. And the sooner the better even though the reopening of the auditorium will result in the return of distance from the ceiling and Benjamin-Constant's painting.


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