A review of the Masterpieces of the Louvre show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Left: Ingres' portrait of the Duke d'Orleans. From Europedia.com. 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 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.