The exhibition showcases around 80 paintings, drawings and sculptures from different art periods. The works on display are part of Villa Vauban’s collection and depict the human life cycle from birth and childhood via adolescence and middle age up to old age and death. Specially designed communication aids allow visitors of all ages to discover and appreciate the works of art (paintings by Adriaen van de Velde and Eugène Delacroix, among others) in an unusual and often playful way. Particular emphasis is placed on people with disabilities, with all the stations designed so that everyone can use them. A diverse supporting programme adapted to special requirements further enhances the exhibition.
Paintings from the 17th to the 20th century illustrate the various stages of life in the form of numerous portraits, including child and couple portraits. Genre and romantic love scenes also capture moments throughout life. A special section showcases animals as the companions of humans and, in this context, the art movement known as Orientalism. A detour introduces visitors to the secrets of perspective in art by means of church interiors and tavern scenes. The tour is further enriched by the occasional human or animal sculpture.
Communication aids range from touchable sculptures to costumes and props to magnifying glasses. Also on display are touchable versions of two of the collection’s key paintings: Jan Steen’s A Twelfth Night Feast (17th century) and Paul Delaroche’s A Mother’s Joy (1843). The visually impaired or those simply choosing to close their eyes can now feel contoured relief versions of these works with their hands. The explanatory booklet is drawn up in standard and plain language.
In the animal-themed room, works are hung at a lower level to facilitate access to children, while a play and learning mat encourages the very little ones to also embark on a museum visit (as part of a guided tour). At the end of the exhibition, visitors are greeted with a relaxation room featuring a colourful landscape of cushions.