What do you think of the idea of admiring fine art while taking a train to work? Seems unlikely, right? Well, someone conceived that thought and these days, traveling by train in France is a real cultural experience. This is because France’s national state-owned rail service – SNCF – has collaborated with 3m – an American manufacturing conglomerate – to bring high impressionist art to the interior of their trains. Yes, it’s true: SNCF has filled its public train system with graphic film of impressionist paintings, art from the Musee d’Orsay and architectural patterns from Versailles, just to name a few, and now it is possible to be surrounded by famous artwork during rush hour.
The goal is to bring world famous art to the masses. So, next time you pick up a train in France, you will be able to see graphic film that mimics impressionist art from the Musée d’Orsay; an imitation of the architecture of the Palace of Versailles; and images from Cinema Gaumont — the oldest film company in the world. This is how the French take their art pretty seriously.
Applying renowned works to one of the most heavily trafficked locations in the country, its public train system, SNCF allows millions of people to admire high art at no cost.
While serving as a simple method to add beauty to an ordinary ride, the project also reflects the close ties between railroads and art. During their commute, passengers can admire ‘Morning, sun’ by Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet’s ‘Blue water lilies’, or the vibrant stained glass wall of the Musée d’Orsay.
A funny fact is that the project has reportedly caused a decrease in the incidences of graffiti and vandalism on French trains. This means that people are appreciated of this initiative.
Along with bringing art to the daily lives of people, the project also makes unexpected connections between art and the railway. This was definitely a great way of improving the journeys for art and design lovers.