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Feature Archive

November, 1999: Spotlight on the Louvre Museum

The Louvre in Paris is the definitive art museum of the world in the same sense that Leonardo's Mona Lisa, which resides there, is the definitive painting. The relative merits of other great museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, or London's National Gallery, are simply irrelevant. When the world thinks of the art museum experience, they think only of the Louvre.

The collection largely represents booty from Napoleon's conquests (at one time it was called the Musée Napoléon), and as such predates the modern art movement which began with the Impressionists. But from the dawn of time right up through the Neoclassical and Romantic eras, the Louvre's collection is simply stunning.

The featured artist for November is Albrecht Dürer. The great genius of the Northern Renaissance. In addition to our usual collection of links to Dürer's works all over the world, we have added an essay about his contributions by T.L. Ponich.

The featured museum site is of course the Musée du Louvre. Click here for a brief review of its web site.

The featured book from Amazon.com for this month is the huge Paintings in the Louvre, by Lawrence Gowing. It is a 688-page volume with reproductions of over 800 paintings. There might be as many as a dozen or so double-page spreads, but these are so impressive that I would have liked to see more, even at the expense of showing fewer works overall.

Gowing's essays which appear throughout the book are full of interesting insights and observations, some of which border on the enigmatic:
Ingres... unlike Delacroix, never countenanced laxity for a moment in all his life.

Many of [Caspar David Friedrich's] pictures, as one learns to read them, offer views into the distance that are also paths through life.

The featured poster from AllPosters.com is Pisanello's superb pen and ink Study of a Horse's Head. This work is from the Louvre collection, and is in fact viewable at the Louvre web site under the somewhat more elaborate name, Head and neck of a harnessed horse, looking away to the right, the bridle hanging.

Previous Features
  October, 1999
Artist: Claude Monet
Museum: North Carolina Museum of Art
Exhibit: Monet: O Mestre do Impressionismo
Book: Impressionists in Winter: Effets de Neige
Print: Nympheas avec Effets de Nuage, by Claude Monet
  September, 1999
Optical Art
Artist: M.C. Escher
Museum: The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
Exhibit: Trompe l'oeil: The Art of Deception
Book: M.C. Escher: His Life and Complete Graphic Work
Print: Movement In Squares, by Bridget Riley
  August, 1999
Animals in Art
Artist: Antoine-Louis Barye
Museum: National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Exhibit: PBS: American Visions
Book: Natural Worlds, by Robert Bateman
Print: A la Bodiniere, by Théophile Steinlen
  July, 1999
Artist: Odd Nerdrum
Museum: Museum of Modern Art, New York
Exhibit: Virtuo Official Magritte Site
Book: Mystery of Magritte CD-ROM
Print: Santiago El Grande, by Salvador Dalí
  June, 1999
Artist: Audrey Flack
Museum: Carol Gerten's Fine Art
Exhibit: Michael Lucero: Sculpture 1976-1995
Book: Anish Kapoor
Print: Cupid And Psyche, by Antonio Canova
  May, 1999
Women in the Arts
Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe
Museum: National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.
Exhibit: Jenny Holzer: Please Change Beliefs
Book: Cindy Sherman: Retrospective
Print: Self-Portrait with Monkeys, by Frida Kahlo
  April, 1999
The Golden Age of Illustration
Artist: Maxfield Parrish
Museum: Fine Arts Museums Of San Francisco
Exhibit: Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe online
Books: Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe
Print: Cinderella (Enchantment), by Maxfield Parrish
  March, 1999
Vincent van Gogh
Artist: Vincent van Gogh
Museum: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Exhibit: The Vincent van Gogh Information Gallery
Book: Van Gogh's Van Goghs
Print: Terrasse de Cafe
  February, 1999
Great Art
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Museum: The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Exhibit: John Singleton Copley: Watson and the Shark
Book: The Sistine Chapel: A Glorious Restoration
Print: L'Astronomia, by Raphael