26 Sep 2018
21 Jan 2019


Musée du Louvre-Lens

Although love is a universal emotion, the ways of loving are many and have continually evolved throughout history. From one period to the next, changes in romantic relationships have provided an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists.  

The exhibition at the Musée du Louvre-Lens will trace the history of ways of loving, from original sin to the quest for freedom in the 20th century. It will reveal how, starting out from the stigmatising of the feminine, each successive period rehabilitated women, love, relations, pleasure and emotion, before eventually arriving at the invention of free love. 


It is a love story that has inspired by turns seduction, adoration, passion, gallantry, libertinage, romanticism and the triumph of consent with the acceptance of marriage for love. Each of the seven sections highlights a major turning point in love.  

This historical overview, illustrated by a selection of some 250 artworks of art in diverse media and from various civilizations, does not seek to be exhaustive, preferring a more selective approach.  


As this story unfolds – punctuated by literary quotations and film clips – the exhibition reveals masterpieces of ancient statuary, precious objects from the Middle Ages, paintings by Memling, Fragonard and Delacroix, and sculptures by Rodin, Claudel and Niki de Saint-Phalle.

D'après Bernin, La Bienheureuse Ludovica Albertoni
James Pradier, Satyre et bacchante
L'Offrande du coeur
Les Joueurs d'échecs
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Le Verrou
Eugène Delacroix, Roméo et Juliette devant le tombeau des Capulets
Carolus-Duran, Le Baiser
Antonio Canova, Psyché et l'Amour
François Boucher, L'Odalisque
Louis Léopold Boilly, L'Indiscret
Le gardien du trésor Youyou et sa femme Tiy

General information

99, rue Paul Bert - 62300 Lens
Every day (except on Tuesday), from 10am to 6pm


Curatorship : Zeev Gourarier, scientific director and director of collections of Mucem, an Dominique de Font-Réaulx, director of national museum Eugène Delacroix, assisted by Alexandres Estaquet-Legrand, documentation officer at the Louvre-Lens museum.  

Scenography : Agence NC / Nathalie Crinière


Alexis Gregorat /

3 rue de Turbigo 75001 Paris
T. +33 1 42 72 60 01