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Treasures of the Louvre (2013)

This is a documentary about the history of the louvre museum, the building and the historical people influencing it as reflected in the various treasures inside it.

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Andrew Hussey ...
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This is a documentary about the history of the louvre museum, the building and the historical people influencing it as reflected in the various treasures inside it.

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5 March 2013 (UK)  »

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Remarkable Documentary Charting the History of the Famous Art Gallery
3 September 2015 | by (London) – See all my reviews

TREASURES OF THE LOUVRE is one of those remarkable pieces where almost everything works brilliantly, from the lively photography to the colorful narrative and the use of a presenter with a passion for his subject.

Presenter Andrew Hussey charts the growth and development of the museum, focusing in particular on its aristocratic heyday during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. At that point it was not a public facility but a palace used by kings to show off their treasures as well as swallow up pieces of land in and around the central Paris area. Visitors to the court were taken through endless galleries lined with gilt, looked up at the elaborately carved ceilings, while admiring the expensive furniture. The Louvre at that point was nothing more than a testament to the strength of the aristocracy.

There was a brief hiatus during the period of the French Revolution when Louis XVI was executed; but the monarchy re-appropriated the space in the early nineteenth century and used it for precisely the same self-aggrandizing purposes. It was not until the middle of that century that its present-day function as a public art gallery was considered.

A Parisian resident himself, Hussey was so thoroughly conversant with his subject that he was both informative as well as entertaining. Rather than conducting awkward interviews with Louvre personnel - where he spoke English and the interviewee replied in his native language, denoting the presence of an (unseen) interpreter in the conversational exchange - Hussey's bilingualism proved a positive advantage as he quizzed his interviewees about the gallery's history.

With the camera taking pleasure in tracking down the seemingly endless galleries filled with treasures, we were given a convincing impression of the Louvre's sheer size; to cover all of its space would take a week at least. Hussey showed off his favorite paintings, and explained their provenance in an entertaining yet informative way.

This was not only a fascinating piece of art history, but a reminder of what aristocratic life was really like in pre-Revolutionary France.


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