Located in the heart of the city’s historic Golden Square Mile, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts inaugurated its Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace last year. This luminous new addition to one of Canada’s most visited museums showcases international art from the medieval period to the present day, including a remarkable collection of Old Masters paintings.

The museum has a number of exciting exhibitions in store for 2018, which will shed new light on some of the most important figures in art and history, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Pablo Picasso, and Alexander Calder.

The year will kick off with the lavish Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace. This exhibition re-creates the extravagant ambiance of Napoleon’s court, as seen through the eyes of the Grand Officers and artists of the Emperor’s Household. With its 3,500 employees, the household orchestrated the pageantry of daily life for the imperial family and helped establish the dynasty of the former general Bonaparte.

An innovative exhibition design with mapping projections and 400 works of fine and decorative art (most never before exhibited in North America) evokes the splendour of the imperial apartments. Paintings, sculptures, furniture, silverware, porcelain, and tapestries illustrate the opulence of the empire’s style, all of which served to heighten the spectacle of power.

Disrupting “primitive” art

Next summer’s blockbuster exhibition is Face to Face: From Yesterday to Today, Non-Western Art and Picasso. It will explore the complex question of aesthetic appropriation and re-appropriation in art history and will feature 200 works from the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and the Musée national Picasso-Paris. It will examine Picasso’s fascination with so-called “primitive” art and compare his work with that of non-Western artists, based on an anthropology of art.

The exhibition also includes works by contemporary artists, mainly of African descent, addressing this post-colonialist heritage. It’s an opportunity to consider how ancient non-Western works of art were perceived by an artistic master of modernity and how yesterday’s objects are seen today.

Art in motion

In the fall, the museum will be presenting Calder: The Mobile Work of a Radical Inventor, the first Canadian retrospective of the work of the American artist, poet, and engineer. One of the 20th century’s greatest artists, Alexander Calder created a new language by putting sculptures into motion with his mobiles and “stabiles.” Drawings, steel-wire circus figurines, standing and suspended mobiles, metallic sheet stabile sculptures, and jewellery will highlight the ingenuity of his work and reveal how his mindset as an inventor was fundamental to his extraordinary creativity.

Spotlight on diversity

The Museum’s 2018 exhibitions will continue to focus on cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Currently on display, Once Upon a Time… the Western shows how the Western is much more than a simple tale of ‘‘cowboys and Indians’’ by exploring its fabrication and transformation. On view until February 4, the exhibition celebrates the beauty of the genre, as well as addressing prejudices against First Nations peoples that it helped perpetuate. Nadia Myre, a contemporary Indigenous artist from Quebec, also explores traditions and history from a highly personal angle in Tout ce qui reste – Scattered Remains, her first retrospective in a Museum. These exhibitions are all part of a move by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to take a fresh look at artistic and cultural diversity.