Culture

Revenants: Ghosts at the Louvre

Do dead men come back sometimes, somehow? This is a question as old as mankind. From the Dance of Death of the late-medieval époque up to the recent horror films: death has always inspired its own iconography. The Louvre is exploring this question and the consequences it has had for the visual arts with a small, but inspiring exhibition called Revenants. A revenant, the dictionary says, is "somebody returning after death or a long absence”. So all the works on display show different ways of depicting the living dead: sketches, photos, a few paintings, and what they call “plaques de fantasmagorie”, little glass sheets used for phantasmagoria, a scary form of theatre invented in France in late 18th century, which gained popularity throughout most of Europe, especially England in the 19th century.

The thrill of skeletons, demons and ghosts

Phantasmagoria worked like a magic lantern. Except that in this case images were  frightening. They chose skeletons, demons, and ghosts, which were projected in different sizes on the walls. The glass sheets on display at the exhibition were made at the beginning of the 19th century and give visitors an idea how sophisticated the shows were. The only painting is from early Renaissance painter Hans Baldung: The knight, the young girl and death is showing a merciless death pulling the young woman from the back of the horse.

Lectures and films

Revenants is a very small exhibition called “une exposition dossier” meaning an exhibition exploring a specific subject and accompanied by lectures and a whole program of films and debates. Enter the Louvre at Porte de Lions, where you never have to queue, walk up to the first level, turn left and you’ll be just in front of the exhibition. Musée du Louvre Salle 33, salle d'actualité Denon wing, 1st floor Entrance: Porte de Lions, Lions gate Until 28 of March 2011 Open everyday except on Tuesday from 9 h - 18 h On Wednesdays and Fridays until 22 h Information: +33 (0)1 40 20 50 50 Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre Photos:
Baldung: The knight, the young girl and the death