The historic monument called the Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums, and certainly the most visited. It is a magnificent treasure house of immense cultural, artistic and historic importance. Originally a 12th century fortress, the building was extended many times over the years, becoming a royal palace and then, during the French Revolution, a museum to safely house the nation’s vast collection of works of art and artifacts.
Not content to rest upon its considerable reputation and worldwide renown, however, the Louvre is constantly presenting its vast collections in imaginative and fascinating exhibitions, and has become affiliated with other important institutions such as the Eugène Delacroix Museum, which also stages enthralling presentations. The Hotel Bersolys Saint-Germain, on the Left Bank of the Seine, is a pleasant ten minute stroll away from the Louvre and the Delacroix Museum, which this summer are presenting two exhibitions that you should not miss.
The past brought to life by exhibitions in Paris
Opulence, splendour and an astonishingly high level of craftsmanship developed by royal patronage are now on view in the decorative arts section of the Louvre. From Louis XIV to Louis XVI: The Art Of French Living covers the Régence period, the development of rococo style and the return to classicism. Period rooms have been faithfully refurbished so that the superb creations of the designers and master craftsmen of the time, such as wood panelling, gold- and silverware, tapestries, furniture and porcelain, can be viewed in their most appropriate setting. A particular highlight is the drawing room of the Hôtel Dangé-Villemaré, which can now be seen in its entirety for the first time since its acquisition by the Louvre in the 19th century.
Masks present a paradox. In some ways they reveal even as they conceal. They convey different meanings. Until September 22nd the Masques, Mascarades, Mascarons exhibition at the Louvre throws a revealing spotlight on the history of facial concealment. From ancient Greek theatre to the Italian and French Renaissance, from mythology to the photographs of Man Ray, over 100 examples from both the ancient and the modern collections of the Louvre tell the story of masks. Death masks, etchings by Mantegna and Callot and a 5th century mask of Dionysus are amongst the superb items on display.
Affiliated with the Louvre since 2004, and assuming a similarly enlightened approach to exhibitions, is the Musée Eugène Delacroix. There until August 31st can be seen The Most Legitimate Of Shakespeare’s Sons, an exhibition displaying the rarely seen lithograph stones and the resultant lithographs reflecting the Romantic artist’s fascination with Shakespeare’s Hamlet. An ardent theatregoer, Delacroix became inspired by the new theories regarding the actor’s craft that were emerging from England at that time, and related these to his own artistic discipline. His Hamlet series of illustrations was one result of this, and the current exhibition is very timely in this 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth
- Exhibition Masques-mascarades-mascarons : until september 22, 2014
Department of Decorative Arts - Sully wing, 2nd floor, rooms 20-23
Musée du Louvre, 99 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1er
Tél. 0033 (0)1 40 20 53 17
Metro : Louvre Rivoli, ligne 1 – Palais Royal Musée du Louvre, lignes 1 et 7
- Eugène Delacroix, « le plus légitime des fils de Shakespeare » : until august 31, 2014
Musée Eugène-Delacroix, 6 rue de Furstenberg, Paris 6ème
Tél.: 33 (0)1 44 41 86 50
Metro : Saint-Germain des Prés, ligne 4 – Mabillon, ligne 10
Picture copyright holder : Tourist Office Paris - Photographer Marc Bertrand (& Featured Image - Architect Leoh Ming Peï)
Hotel Bersolys Saint-Germain, a charming hotel of yesteryear located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on Paris’ Left Bank.