Each time I visit Paris I think, maybe this time I’ll make it to the Louvre. There are so many things to see and do, however, that I never seem to get there. A quick eyeballing of the swarms in the Louvre’s main courtyard and the throng serpentining in front of its entrance is enough to deter me. Besides, I can spend 3 to 4 hours in a museum that is one-tenth the size and after that length of time, I need a break anyway. Earlier this week, however, I decided to visit an exhibit at the Comics Art Museum in Brussels that gave me a taste of the Louvre while also indulging my love of bandes dessinées.
An Easy Day Trip
Happily, with France’s highspeed trains, Brussels is just 80 minutes away and the thrill of an air-cushioned ride, while traveling at speeds exceeding 180 mph, makes for a fun day trip. My husband Andy and I love to walk and the route from the train station to the museum afforded a perfect way for us to explore the center of Brussels on foot. Unfortunately, many streets, and the famous Grand Place, were encumbered with construction fences, work crews and equipment, mounds of dirt, and a fair amount of litter, so I did not come away with the shining impression of Brussels I’d been expecting. Nevertheless, our final destination was well worth joining the hoards of tourists that jostled along the narrow walkways bordered by construction barriers.
An Ingenious Partnership
Since 2005, the French publisher Futuropolis has been partnering with the Louvre to create a collection of graphic novels that is anchored by the museum’s history, art collection, and architecture. Over the years, 20 exceptional cartoonists have been given carte blanche access in order to shine a contemporary light on the centuries-old institution. The result is a spectacular collection of illustrated stories that allow readers to discover the richness of the museum’s offerings without ever stepping inside. The 150 original frames from these novels, currently on display at the Comics Art Museum, exceeded my already high expectations of a spectacular exhibit. Below is a small sampling.
The Louvre through the Eyes of…
You may recognize the name of Stephane Levallois who has worked on several Hollywood blockbusters, creating the fantastic worlds in films like Alien, King Kong, and Harry Potter.
Nicola de Crécy
[Pay no attention to the man in front of the curtain.]
This panel doesn’t do justice to Taniguchi’s talents. I’ve written more about him here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of my meta-visit to the Louvre. Have any favorites? In case you’re interested, the online bookstore Lireka carries all of the books featured in the exhibit. The average price is 18 euros (under $19) and the cost of shipping to the United States is ONLY 1 cent.