The Louvre and the Masterpiece

My thoughts on the “The Louvre and the Masterpiece” exhibit now at the MIA.


62 works. 5000 years. Real works and clever forgeries! Sculpture, drawings, paintings.
The Louvre and the Masterpiece attempts to provide a broad selection of works from France’s (and perhaps the World’s) most famous museum. At the MIA after a stint at the High Museum in Atlanta, the Louvre and the Masterpiece explores a variety of types of art, and a variety of works.
The theme of “Masterpiece” is explored in a number of ways. What, precisely makes a masterpiece and what does not comes through ranging from unfinished drawings by Da Vinci to an absolutely larger-than-life lion sculpture.
You won’t find the Mona Lisa here (it can’t leave France because its a National Treasure). But what you will find is Vermeer’s The Astronomer, John Martin’s huge and arresting Pandemonium, sketches and incomplete works by Michelangelo and Da Vinci, and Barye’s magnificent bronze sculpture The Lion and the Serpent
There are some other interesting pieces in this collection, including a famous forgery of Egyptian art–the Blue Head. I particularly also liked De Tour’s painting “The Card Sharp”, showing the fleecing of a young noble by a card shark who doesn’t have an ace up his sleeve…but rather in the back of his doublet.
It is rather expensive ($14 here in Minneapolis) to see the exhibit, but short of actually visiting the Louvre, or doing a judicious search on the web, there is no other way to see these works of art and get a taste of what the Louvre is all about.