At the Louvre: New Multimedia Exhibition Highlights Sèvres Porcelain

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 26, 2011

Press release from the Louvre:

Sèvres Porcelain: An Art of Living in the 18th Century
Musée du Louvre, Paris, from 8 June 2011

Vase à fleurs "Duplessis," manufacture de Vincennes, ca. 1752 (Musée du Louvre, département des Objets d’art. N° d’inventaire OA 7610) © 2010 musée du Louvre / Martine Beck-Coppola.

Feast your eyes on the beauty of 18th-century Sèvres porcelain in the Louvre’s magnificent Napoléon III Apartments. Cuttingedge multimedia resources, designed in the context of the Museum Lab project, will help you discover how these porcelain pieces were made and provide an introduction to this aspect of the French art of living. Visit Rooms 93 and 95 on the first floor of the Richelieu Wing, where a multimedia experience awaits you! The displays entitled “Court dining in France” and “Manufacturing technique of soft-paste porcelain” will appeal to new and regular visitors alike, adding an entertaining, interactive dimension to their museum experience.

The manufacturing process of what was referred to as “white gold” was long a well-kept secret and the preserve of the most experienced craftsmen. The animated images in this display offer visitors an insight into traditional manufacturing techniques and the materials that were used to produce soft-paste porcelain since the founding of the Vincennes-Sèvres Manufactory in 1746.

On April 21, 1757, Louis XV held a supper for his guests at the Château de Choisy. The dishes were presented “French style,” which meant that the food was served in successive courses, and guests could help themselves to soups and hors-d’oeuvre, medium and large entrées, roast meats and salads, hot and cold entremets, and desserts. Each course required a specific range of plates and hollow ware. This multimedia display invites museum visitors to the King’s table. They approach the touch-table, select their language, and experience the atmosphere of a royal supper served on Sèvres porcelain.

The porcelain technique was first mastered in France in the mid-18th century, at the Vincennes-Sèvres Manufactory. Technique, form and design constantly evolved as craftsmen emulated FarEastern then European models, and this is reflected in the pieces on display—a vase and tableware in “soft-paste” porcelain (so-called because of the fragility of the enamel). The quality of the colors and elegance of the decoration testify to the skill of the Manufacture’s craftsmen, while the various forms and functions evoke the sophistication of the French art of living in the 18th century.

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The Museum Lab project, initiated in 2006, originated in a partnership between Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) and the Musée du Louvre. Its goal is to develop new approaches to art appreciation. Visitors to its dedicated space in Gotanda (Tokyo) can enjoy a privileged encounter with one or more artworks from the Louvre’s rich collection at a new-style exhibition incorporating a range of approaches in the form of original, purpose-designed multimedia displays.

The first series of six exhibitions, held between 2006 and 2009, attracted some 46,000 visitors. Museum Lab’s original take on art appreciation, based on the new technologies, prompted an enthusiastic response. October 2010 saw the beginning of a second series that marked a new stage in the Museum Lab project: a selection of the displays developed for each new Tokyo presentation began to be relocated to the Louvre in Paris, to allow as many visitors as possible to enjoy this new way of approaching art. Museum Lab also intends to share the results of its research with museums, cultural institutions, and educational establishments worldwide, to promote the interaction between people and art.

If a museum visit is to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, visitors need a means of fully comprehending the exhibits: what they represent and express, the context in which they were produced, their place in art history… Museum Lab’s mission is to facilitate this comprehension. Drawing on the resources of both the Louvre and DNP, it designs and develops original approaches to art appreciation using a range of digital technologies. The teams at the Louvre and at DNP work in close cooperation: the Louvre team develops the scientific content, outreach ideas, and multimedia design, while their partners at DNP use their technical skills and tools to create the multimedia devices.

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