The Louvre holds the largest collection of French Art in the world, and yet, most visitors only make a detour to see David and Delacroix between the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. French Art has so much more to offer; this conversation aims to expose participants to its first days of glory, the medieval period, and how it slowly integrated the transformations of the Renaissance.
Most children are fascinated by medieval times: a time when knights were fighting for the love of a princess held high in a dragon-protected-tower. However, as adults, few take an interest in the art of that period. We usually know of the architecture: the elevation of gothic cathedrals, the beauty of stained glass. But romanesque and gothic sculptures are some of the most artistic, esthetic, expressive forms of emotion, and should be known, even if the names of their makers are forgotten since no artisan signed their work back then. France was one of the richest, most influential regions of Europe in medieval times, and the Louvre museum holds an exceptional collection of sculptures, starting in the eleventh century (romanesque), going through the Gothic period, and slowly morphing into the Renaissance.
We’ll discuss how France's Renaissance is an interesting mix: while keeping true to the French traditions (chauvinism wasn't born yesterday), it was influenced by the Flemish art coming from Burgundy as well as the Italian art brought back from the Italian Wars. Those wars carried the French aristocracy to Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples and made them come back to their native land with eyes full of wonders and plans to import such marvels to their defensive castles. The French Renaissance painters thus chose between the realism of the Flemish or the mannerist style taught by Italian artists fleeing Rome after the Sack of Rome in 1527.
Led by art historian Marie Dessaillen, this interactive discussion will uncover a lesser-known, yet fascinating period of European Art History, taking participants through the time of the cathedrals, of the Hundred Years' War, of Humanism and the Wars of Religion. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of French art from the eleventh to the sixteenth century. Hopefully, this will set participants up in good stead for future explorations of the two whole floors of French Art at the Louvre...
This is the third of a series of four seminars on the Louvre collections, each independent, designed to describe in-depth the main movements of European Art History. After the Italian and Flemish Renaissance, and the French medieval and Renaissance period, Marie Dessaillen will focus on the period when Paris ruled the artistic world: from Classism to Romanticism. It will be an occasion to place all your favorite artists back into a chronology and make sense of their evolution. From Giotto to Michelangelo, from Van Eyck to Vermeer, from the medieval anonymity of the artisan to Delacroix, let's make sense of European Art History!