“The Louvre and the Masterpiece” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

October 28, 2009

A review of the Masterpieces of the Louvre show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Ingres-1842 Left: Ingres' portrait of the Duke d'Orleans. From This is an incredible painting that must be seen to be believed. The blending of the paint is perfection. The tension in the thumb of his glove-holding hand is intense. The reflected light on the gloved hand is incredibly delicate and substantial. The epaulets sparkle with volume and substantiality. And the pants—I can't even tell you about the pants. Ingres paints the weight; the drape is perfect. And don't get me started about the skintones and the hair. Stand in front of this painting and you will feel the breath of Ingres on your neck as you view this painting, telling you, "See what I see; see what is."

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is hosting a portion of the LouvreAtlanta show: The Louvre and the Masterpiece. The show runs through Januay 10, 2010. Tickets are required and available on line.

The good news is that this Ingres painting is in the exhibit. Also included is a student work of Leonardo da Vinci's—an incredible, in-your-face-of-course-I-can-do-that-exercise that will bring tears to your eyes (drapery!). An incredible, closely cropped (and modern in aspect) Christ Carrying the Cross by Lorenzo Lotto (circa 1480-1556) will make you stop and stare (there are two perfect tears and the you can smell the wood sap from the freshly cut cross).

Sadly there are horrible omissions from the complete show. The Dürer prints, two gouache paintings by Alexandre-Isidore Leroy de Barde (one of a shell collection and one of a rock collection, both equisite examples of artistic control in this medium) are among many other gorgeous pieces omitted from this installation—you will have to make due, again with seeing them in print, in the catalog (which is lovely and only about $35, hardcover).

Be appeased by the presence of Vermeer's The Astronomer, every inch a glowing testament to the role of light in our lives. Go plan your visit now.

    • Beth Billstrom
    • October 28, 2009

    Yes, we went to see the exhibit and it was inspiring. I loved the etchings/drawings and spent a large amount of time in that portion of the exhibit. But, I must admit, my favorite piece was the made-over sculpture. I can just imagine a very practical, cost-efficient monk muttering to himself, “Now, the church originally paid a lot to have that sculpture done, how can we make it go with the current decor?” ……. I know, I have an odd sense of humor. But I loved it!

    On a different note, we also wondered about all that was left out of the exhibit. Do you know why things were omitted?

    • Roz
    • October 28, 2009

    Beth, I’m so glad you got to go to the exhibit. I thought the reused column made over by the church was fun too, but Daniel looked a little bored for being in the lions’ den!

    The woman we asked didn’t know why the rest of the exhibit hadn’t traveled here. A young man in line in front of me said that he had been to Atlanta and he thought they had more space, but that’s just a supposition.

    I sure wish they had been able to bring the other items. I could have happily done without several of the pieces they did bring along in exchange for the ones I mentioned.

  1. Reply

    I was most intrigued by the focus in this painting, as in the sharpness of detail. Every thing in the painting was soft was more or less out of focus, except for a horizontal stripe where the gentleman’s medals are on his chest. The medals on his chest, and his epaulettes were painted with very crisp. sparkly detail. I assume the a great deal of money was spent to secure his military commission.

    As I stared at this painting, I wish that it was hung at the height it was intended for. I assume that this painting was hung much higher. I think that the scale of his head and shoulders is a little big to compensate for seeing it from slightly below.

    My wife went to the show in order to be in the presence of a Leonardo drawing. I was very happy to be in the presence of a George de Latour. Such an interesting painting.

    • Roz
    • November 23, 2009

    Marty, I agree it would have been nice hung a little lower (the military prince) but then I am a short person in general (well actually, specifically!).

    I have always loved Latour and was a little disappointed in the finish of this painting—it read better from a distance and I like to get up within inches.

    The leonardo drapery study actually made me cry.

    I’m so glad you and your wife got to see it all. Did you peek in the catalog? So many great things didn’t make it here!

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