October 17, 2015–July 4, 2016

Founding Myths. From Hercules to Darth Vader

Inaugural exhibition of the Petite Galerie


Founding Myths. From Hercules to Darth Vader
Inaugural exhibition of the Petite Galerie

What are myths? And how are they portrayed? How are myths passed on to us? How have artists appropriated them? Told, sung, written, and illustrated, myths are a part of all cultures and civilizations, including contemporary popular culture. Presented in the Petite Galerie throughout the school year, the exhibition “Founding Myths. From Hercules to Darth Vader” tells how illustrators, sculptors, painters, puppeteers, filmmakers, and musicians around the world have drawn inspiration from myths, given them form, and brought them to life.

In its desire to make art open to all, the Louvre provides the keys to answer these questions in the Petite Galerie.

From Hercules to Darth Vader

The exhibition displays some 70 artworks, grouped into four sections. The first gallery invites you to discover the tales told by different civilizations in an effort to explain the creation of the world. Then find out how the cycles of nature are recounted in Greek, Egyptian, and Islamic civilizations. Meet mythological heroessuchasGilgamesh, Orpheus, Hercules, andIcarus,andsee how they have been portrayed by classical and contemporary artists. In the final gallery, ponder modern-day interpretations of myths and metamorphoses: from Jean Cocteau to Star Wars, Japanese manga to Fantômas, do the mythologies of popular culture not still draw from the same repertoire of stories and tales? 

Innovative approach

The Petite Galerie gives visitors an opportunity to enrich the way they look at the masterpieces at the Louvre and other museums. Through samples of different materials, entertaining wall labels, maps, and timelines, it facilitates the encounter with artworks and offers visitors a new museum experience.

A booklet of games and a free application with audio description and in LSF (French sign language) ensure a comfortable visit for all audiences. Activities led by museum guides are an excellent way for families to enjoy a fun-filled and awe-inspiring discovery of the Petite Galerie. 

Dominique de Font-Réaulx, Curator at the Louvre and Director of the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix.
Project manager:
Frédérique Leseur, Head of Public Outreach and Artistic Education.