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20.3.05

Romanesque Art Exhibit at the Louvre

One of the Four Elders of the Apocalypse, Saint-Omer, end of 10th centuryThere is a new exhibit on Romanesque art in France, La France romane au temps des premiers Capétiens (987-1152), at the Louvre until June 6. It brings together 300 works of art in the "first large multigenre exhibit devoted to French Romanesque art," including statue-reliquaries, illuminated manuscripts, precious objects and ivories, reliefs, and storiated capitals. A review (Merveilles de l'art roman, au Louvre, March 16) by Guy Duplat for La Libre Belgique describes in greater detail some of the interesting pieces (my translation):

There are some masterpieces among all these works. There are magnificent storiated capitals like the one showing a daydreaming Daniel in the lions' den, the one of King Herod holding Salome by the chin after her dance, or another showing a very curious "dispute" between two one-legged men holding each other's beards. There are also masterpieces like the statue-reliquaries of which the most beautiful example (missing from the Louvre) is surely the statue of Saint Foy, from the Conques treasury. The Louvre gives us three superb examples: large wooden statues, of a half-body, covered with silver and gold and which were used to hold relics.
Another review (L'art roman, ou l'efflorescence d'un monde nouveau, March 16) by Emmanuel de Roux for Le Monde makes a good point (my translation):
The most spectacular accomplishments of this period (950–1150)—churches, basilicas, abbeys, mural painting—must be visited on site, in Poitiers, Saint-Savin, Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, Conques, or Vézelay. The visitor to these sites, however, must not fall into another trap. These monuments have been mutilated by time and extensive restoration that they suffered in the 19th century. As a result, we often have a watered-down, oversimplified vision of it: austere whiteness and minimal decoration. Diametrically opposed to the vision offered by Danielle Gaborit-Chopin and Jean-René Gaborit, the curators of this exhibit at the Louvre.
The only images from the Louvre's Web site are mediocre ones in this .PDF file. There are two images with this article (Au Musée du Louvre: « La France romane », March 16) by Jean-Louis Pinte for Figaroscope. See also Anne-Marie Romero, L'art roman, matin de l'Europe (Le Figaro, March 10).

UPDATE:
Here is the last Romanesque exhibit I blogged on, Romanesque Sculpture in Catalonia, from October 3, 2004.

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