Galerie du Temps
When I heard about the "Time Gallery", showing artworks from the same period
and from different regions and cultures in successive "rows", I wanted to go as
soon as possible on this time voyage of about 5000 years. In fact, you have to
slalom when you want to see all the works of each period before going on to the
next. It turned out a bit less fascinating than I had hoped for: The pieces
representing different cultures at a point in time were less striking than I
had expected them to be in a Louvre. But my ignorance may have misled me, and
the exhibited pieces may well be "quintessential" of their period. And maybe no
museum in the world could have assembled so many quintessential pieces over
such a long period and from so many cultures.
If you walk a straight line through the ages from the statue of Gudea, King
of Lagash (around 2130 BC), to that of Ferdinand-Philippe, duc d'Orléans, by
Jean-Louis Jaley (1844), you cannot help feeling another deception: in roughly
4000 years, craftsmanship seems to have evolved but not artistic power. The
statue of the Duke is very refined in its execution, but the person singularly
lacks expressive intensity. (There is just some mild arrogance and
pompousness.) 4000 years of artistic evolution for that? If you look
at it from the opposite point of view, this is a very positive experience:
Human beings have been very powerful artists at all ages.
Reading about the architecture of the Louvre Lens also made me want to go:
The aluminium panels promised to provide some very special reflections. Since I
am afraid that the thin aluminium film may quickly suffer from unintentional
(or even badly intentioned) visitors, I wanted to be there early in the life of
the building, before it bears too many scars.
The "hangars" are not very spectacular, but if you look at them as special
versions of the industrial buildings the area used to be full of, the idea of
the architects becomes more attractive. The outer aluminium skin lets them
blend very discreetly with the landscape. On grey days (like the one we chose
for our visit), you can hardly discern the contours of the buildings against
Unfortunately, I went without my "real" camera, so I can only offer impressions
captured with my smartphone. Enough reason for another excursion...
My favourite reflection: Looking
at centuries along a time gallery, your view becomes blurred. I like the single
visitor outside (and inside) the blurred reflection, trying to look at "the
real image", and yet being part of the blurred image.
Fragment du décor d'un arc de
triomphe : garde rapprochée de l'empereur (prétoriens) (see here for the "real" image)
Tired visitors being exhorted to