15 May 2024 to 17 November 2024

Temporary exhibition

The Body in Motion

Exhibition on the occasion of the Cultural Olympiad

Avenue Winston-Churchill 75008 Paris

Tel : 01 53 43 40 00

Free entrance

Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am to 6pm

On the occasion of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Petit Palais is celebrating “The Body in Motion” starting on 15 May 2024. This exhibition connects art and sport within its collections.

The exhibition, with a scenography design reflecting the colours of the Olympics, presents fifty works from the collections of the Petit Palais, ranging from antiquity to the early twentieth century, some of which have been specially taken out of the reserves. These paintings, sculptures, and art objects, as well as drawings and prints from the museum, were chosen for the way in which they highlight the body, anatomy, and sport. The exhibition is divided into eight sections.


It begins in the Galerie des Antiques, taking visitors back in time to the origins of the Olympic Games with visual evocations of a discus or javelin-throwing event on vases and amphoras dating from the fifth century BC. The nearby icon collection highlights the representation of the “heroic body” through the figure of Saint George slaying the dragon, embodying the notion of the quest and of surpassing oneself.


The section entitled “The Drawn Body” recalls the importance of human models in Western art and presents studies of male nudes by Dürer and Rembrandt. The exhibit continues with a dancing interlude focusing on “suspended bodies”.  Embodying the dynamism visible throughout the exhibition, the section called “Sculpting the Body” sheds light on this quest for vitality by sculptors seeking to capture movement. Further on, in the section entitled “Saddle Up!”, the theme of the emancipation of women through sport is explored with paintings by Jacques-Émile Blanche and Léon Comerre. “The Body at Play” on the other hand, presents children’s games like shuttlecock and pick-up sticks in eighteenth-century hangings, the respective ancestors to today’s badminton and mikado. The concluding section of the exhibition, titled “Sport in Vogue” looks at the early twentieth century, which marked the arrival of the modern Olympic Games, transporting visitors into a new era leading up to the present day. 


The exhibition is complemented by videos, titled “In the Words of Athletes”, presenting the sports men and women, supported by the companies of Groupe BPCE, premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and main sponsor or patron of the Petit Palais. Each artist has chosen a work that particularly resonates with their specific sport and practice, their personal life, and the physical challenges they have faced, along with the art of the perfectly executed gesture, and the ambitions or objectives they have set for themselves. These moving videos shed light on the link that exists between art and sport, with the participating athletes becoming, in their own words, “artletes”. 

To discover the exhibition:


Download the app available on  App Store Logo Stock Illustrations – 26,768 App Store Logo ...



Annick Lemoine, Petit Palais Director and Head Curator.
Anne-Charlotte Cathelineau, Chief Heritage Curator, Head of the Sculpture Department.
Fabienne Cousin, Head of the Cultural and Educational Department.
Laurène Dupuy, Head of Cultural Mediation.


The exhibition benefits from the support of