For its fifth season, the Louvre’s Petite Galerie—a space dedicated to art and cultural education—will be holding an exhibition titled ‘The Advent of the Artist’. Opening on September 25, 2019, this year’s edition will coincide with a cycle of Louvre exhibitions devoted to the Renaissance geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo and Albrecht Altdorfer in 2019-2020.
It was during the Renaissance that artists asserted their independence and demanded recognition as creators in their own right. Yet the advent of the artist had been long awaited. This exhibition will take a close look at the transition from the typically anonymous craftsman of the classical period to the artist of the Renaissance, at times famous to the extent of becoming the hero of novels and legends. It is this long-standing connection between the visual arts and the written word that inspired this edition’s focus on literature. Spread across four rooms, the exhibition will feature some forty artworks from the Louvre’s eight curatorial departments alongside extracts from literature, with the aim of tracing the emergence and recognition of the artist from Antiquity to the 19th century.
Several signed artworks from the classical period bear witness to an early ambition to rise above the status of craftsman, with inscriptions and signatures providing important clues as to the artists’ identities.
During the Renaissance, artists well and truly transcended the rank of craftsman, developing the genre of self-portraiture. One of the most famous self-portraits at the Louvre, Albrecht Dürer’s Portrait of the Artist Holding a Thistle (1493) appears alongside Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait with Easel (1660), among others.
The Lives of Artists
Works of art history and literature tended to describe artists as creative geniuses that were much admired and talked about by their peers. Artists thus became a subject in their own right.
The Academy and the Salons
Before their work officially entered the museum, artists earned recognition and commissions thanks to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture founded in 1648 (replaced in 1793 by the Academy of Fine Arts), as well as the first temporary exhibition of contemporary art—the Salon—which displayed their creations under the observant eyes of critics.
Visitors will be guided through the exhibition by illustrated labels providing information on the works of art, a number of literary extracts, and films and digital displays explaining the art of copying. These features are designed to provide context and to allow visitors to take in the finer details. And for those looking to delve further into the subject, the exhibition catalogue will be displayed in a designated reading area.
Exhibition Curators: Chantal Quillet, Associate Professor of Classical Studies, and Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre.
Project Manager: Florence Dinet, Musée du Louvre.
CUSTOMIZED DIGITAL TOOLS
A dedicated website (petitegalerie.louvre.fr/bilinguisme-en) offering visitor trails for teachers and for professionals working in the social sector and accompanying disabled individuals, a virtual tour and additional information about featured artworks, allowing visitors to plan and make the most of their time at the exhibition.
Free Petite Galerie App (French only), designed for visitors with disabilities and available on iOS and Android.
Figure d’Artiste. Edited by Chantal Quillet and Jean-Luc Martinez with the assistance of Florence Dinet.
Co-published by Musée du Louvre Éditions and Éditions du Seuil.
Bound, 168 pages, €29 (French only).
TOURS AND WORKSHOPS (French only)
Guided Tours for Families (age 8+): “Qu’est-ce Qu’un Artiste?”
Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.
Tour for Adults: “Rendez-vous avec un Copiste”
Wednesday, November 6 at 6 p.m.
Workshop: “Recopier le Musée” (age 6+)
Saturday, September 28, and Sunday, September 29, 2–5 p.m.
Full program on louvre.fr/ateliers
Saturday Night Opening
Free tour guided by students from the École du Louvre on the first Saturday of every month (booking required, French only)
Meet the Author: Emil Ferris at the Louvre
Emil Ferris—an American comic book author known for her multi-award winning graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters—will be drawing inspiration for her new literary project during a workshop in the Louvre’s exhibition rooms.
AT THE LOUVRE AUDITORIUM (French only)
Film Series: “Autoportrait- Figure d’Artiste”
October 16, 2019—April 1, 2020
CINEMA FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
“Le Tableau” by Jean-François Laguionie (age 6+)
Wednesday, October 23 at 3 p.m.
Presentation of the Exhibition
Thursday, October 3 at 12:30 p.m.
Chantal Quillet and Jean-Luc Martinez