Visiting the quirky town house and studio of painter Gustave Moreau (1826–98) is well worth your time. With an eye on his legacy, Moreau—a high priest of the Symbolist movement—created a light-flooded gallery on the two top floors to showcase his dark paintings. Some of the works appear unfinished, such as Unicorns (No. 213) inspired by the medieval tapestries in the Musée de Cluny: Moreau refused to work on it further, spurning the wishes of a wealthy
would-be patron. His interpretation of Biblical scenes and Greek mythology combine flights of fantasy with a keen use of color, shadow, and tracings influenced by Persian and Indian miniatures. There are wax sculptures and cupboards with sliding vertical doors containing small-format paintings. The Symbolists loved objects, and Moreau was no different. His cramped private apartment on the second floor is jam-packed with bric-a-brac, and artworks cover every inch of the walls. Note that the home’s top three stories are newly renovated; work on the ground floor, which will include six rooms that have been closed to the public for more than a decade, is set to finish in late 2014.