Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Louvre Treasure Awakening Apollo|
Director: Jerome Prieur
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Educational
In the heart of the Louvre Museum, the Apollo Gallery offers a dazzling display of rich tapestries, monumental paintings, gilded ornamentation, and even the French crown jewels. Dedicated to the Sun King, Louis XIV, nearly... more »
Vicarious visit to Louvre
Wallace Smith | Chicago | 09/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an elegant 80 minute film made in 2004 whose sole subject is the history and three year restoration completed in 2004 of the Apollo Gallery in the Louvre. The sumptuously decorated gallery in the heart of the French capital is perhaps most famous for its mid-19th century Delacroix ceiling paintings but its architectural and decorative history begins two centuries earlier with Louis XIV.
Like the great French cathedrals the Apollo Gallery took almost 200 years to complete - it was begun in 1661 under the direction of architect Le Vau and painter Charles Le Brun. The approximate 1800 square foot gallery with 45 foot high ceiling is decorated with an Italian-inspired program of allegorical painting and sculpture accompanied by a feast of golden filigree.
The DVD presents the film by Jerome Prieur in its original French language (without English subtitles!) as well an English version which presents the same French version with over-narration in English. While I cannot guess what may irritate another viewer, I have viewed the film in its English format with satisfaction but it is the original French language version that brings the highest order of satisfaction to the viewer who understands French or enjoys hearing it.
The film attempts to be comprehensive of its subject - we learn its history, iconography, the personalities involved in its creation and the activity of the team who patiently clean and restore the art work which cost about 7 million US dollars. While the film is both a visual and aural experience of the gallery under restoration conditions, it is the beauty of the art as well as its compelling historical creation which is the focus of the film.
Scholars providing "talking head" commentary are mostly French or French-speaking although there is one Englishman and one German - all of them apparently filmed inside the echoing gallery during restoration work. This panoply of expert observers include Genevieve Brec of the Musee du Louvre; Peter Burke; Gerard Mace and Philippe Beaussant, both writers; Alain Merot, Universite de Paris - Sorbonne; Michel Goutal, Architecte en chef des Monuments Historiques; among others.
Several panoramic gallery shots including slow moving close-ups of the painting, sculpture and other decorative art works orient the viewer to the interior space, while references to its Paris setting are scanty. Nonetheless, there are nice modern shots of Paris from the Louvre rooftops at morning and night as well as shots of period canvases of the exterior of the Apollo Gallery.
Each of the scholars is passionate. No American scholars are featured. There is one American voice heard toward the end of the film - a male of supposed college age - who the French filmmaker allows about 15 seconds to opine. It is almost enlightening under such constraints."