Louvre: Portrait of a Museum (Abradale Books)

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9780810982154: Louvre: Portrait of a Museum (Abradale Books)
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Offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Louvre, along with a review of its diverse art collections

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Review:

This sumptuous, 335-page book, which is illustrated with 650 original photographs by the author as well as hundreds of works of art in the Louvre's vast holdings (plus archival plans and documents), is the next best thing to being in Paris, at the great museum itself. This history of 600 years of royal patronage, architectural adjustment, and voracious collecting of sculptures, treasures, paintings, and antiquities is for the cultured traveler, the intelligent tourist, and the art-loving amateur. The picture captions are warmly written and discursive, often with only minimal details about size and materials, and the text is much too user-friendly for art historians. But there is a great deal of information here, which could be absorbed only through long hours of perusal. The book is divided into three main sections: Eight Centuries of History; Architecture; and The Louvre's Seven Departments, including painting, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian antiquities, sculpture, and the decorative arts. The building itself is treated to a long discussion of the kings, queens, and presidents who have tried and failed to have the last word on its appearance and use. Torn down, rebuilt, redesigned, and, finally, wrenched into the late 20th century by I.M. Pei's controversial glass pyramid, the Louvre is an evolving work of art. (This book looks like the sort a parent leaves open on a coffee table, attempting to edify the children, but note the two or three full-page reproductions of artworks depicting tumescent male organs.) --Peggy Moorman

Language Notes:

Text: English
Original Language: French

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