Enfilade

Exhibition | Théâtre du Pouvoir

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 1, 2017

Press release (via Art Daily) for the exhibition now on view at the Petite Galerie of the Louvre:

Power Plays / Théâtre du Pouvoir
Musée du Louvre, Paris, 27 September 2017 — 2 July 2018

Curated by Paul Mironneau and Jean-Luc Martinez with Florence Dinet

The Petite Galerie exhibition for 2017–18 focuses on the connection between art and political power. Governing entails self-presentation as a way of affirming authority, legitimacy, and prestige. Thus, art in the hands of patrons becomes a propaganda tool; but it can also be a vehicle for protest and subverting the established order. Spanning the period from antiquity up to our own time, forty works from the Musée du Louvre, the Musée National du Château de Pau, the Château de Versailles, and the Musée des Beaux-arts de la Ville de Paris illustrate the evolution of the codes behind the representation of political power.

The exhibition is divided into four sections. ‘Princely Roles’: The first room presents the king’s functions—priest, builder, warrior/protector—as portrayed through different artistic media. Notable examples are Philippe de Champaigne’s Portrait of Louis XIII, Léonard Limosin’s enamel Crucifixion Altarpiece, and the Triad of Osorkon II from ancient Egypt.

‘Legitimacy through Persuasion’: The focus in the second room is on the emblematic figure of Henri IV, initially a king in search of legitimacy, then a model for the Bourbon heirs from Louis XVI to the Restoration. Features include sculptures by Barthélémy Prieur and François-Joseph Bosio and paintings by Frans Pourbus the Younger, Ingres, and others.

Antoine-François Callet, Portrait of Louis XVI, 1778, oil on canvas (Château du Versailles).

‘The Antique Model’: The theme of the third room is the equestrian statue. The Louvre is home to several remarkable examples, among them the Barberini Ivory leaf, a bronze of Charles the Bald, and François Girardon’s Louis XIV.

‘The Insignia of Power’: In the fourth room majestic portraits of monarchs, including Antoine-François Callet’s Portrait of Louis XVI, François Gérard’s Portrait of Napoleon I, and Franz-Xaver Winterhalter’s Portrait of Louis Philippe, are accompanied by the regalia used during the coronation of the kings of France. This final section also highlights the dramatic historical and representational changes that came with the French Revolution.

“By providing keys to the observation and explanation of different artworks, the Petite Galerie sets out to make the visit to the museum an enjoyable and enlightening experience” says Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Musée du Louvre. Informative labels and digital touchscreen displays encourage attention to detail and help to establish context. In addition, five themed tours of the Louvre’s permanent collection are proposed: 1) Royal Roles and Representational Codes in the Ancient East, 2) The Pharaoh, 3) The Powers of the Roman emperor, 4) The Islamic Sovereign, and 5) The King as Artist and Patron.

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The Louvre’s Petite Galerie opened in 2015:

A new exhibition space at the heart of the museum, the Petite Galerie is designed to be open to all with particular focus on young visitors and their accompanying adults. An unprecedented project, the Petite Galerie draws on the museum’s experience gained in the field of art and cultural education. Each year, this ambitious project develops an overarching theme to give visitors a unique encounter with a variety of artworks and enrich the way they look at them. From October to June, an exhibition of around forty original and multidisciplinary works from the collections of the Louvre and other French national museums will be presented on a chosen theme.

In addition to the temporary exhibition, the project will also be rolled out in two other areas:
• online via a Web site and an innovative digital environment (applications, e-learning, collaborative platforms, etc.),
• and beyond the museum walls through traveling outreach initiatives for all audiences (cultural institutions, companies, schools, etc.).

A budget of 5 million euros has been allocated for the gallery program and its first five years of operation. Resources and publications will be available to all visitors, while activities and events will also be organized to engage audiences of different ages. Readings, storytelling, films, concerts, conferences, and talks held in the Louvre Auditorium will also reflect the year’s chosen theme. In keeping with French Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education guidelines, the Petite Galerie will also provide an opportunity for the Louvre to strengthen cooperation with major partners (institutions, museums, media), as well as associations and local authorities, to forge ties that extend the project’s reach outside of the museum.

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