Still life, an art often considered minor, will be the subject of an exhibition at the Louvre from October.

A dive into history

“Les Choses” (The things) is an author’s exhibition offering a new vision of a genre long considered minor and whose title in French is not without question: still life. The representation of things, of which we find testimonies from prehistoric times, allows a wonderful dive into history. The artists were, in fact, the first to take things seriously. They recognized their presence, made them alive and interesting by exalting their form, their meaning, their power, their charm. They have grasped their ability to make us imagine, believe, doubt, dream, act.

still life
Copyright Louvre museum

A new perspective

The exhibition revisits the genre of still life, in the perspective of this eternal dialogue between artists of the past and those of the present. Thanks to our attachment to them, it is also our relationship with material goods that is told. From prehistoric axes to Duchamp’s ready-made via Chardin and Manet, the whole history of art is revisited. The exhibition intends to re-establish a dialogue between this genre perceived as outmoded and the public: the still life is one of the powerful artistic evocations of sensitive life. Because human beings live with things and are attached to them, because things occupy a decisive place in lives and imaginations, still life says a lot about us and has a lot to tell us. It tells of our relationship with material goods, which are not reducible to their materiality but which are charged with meaning. The last major event around still life, Still Life from Antiquity to the 20th Century, was organized in 1952 in Paris by Charles Sterling, curator at the Louvre. This exhibition pays tribute to this great art historian; it is however not a question of a remake, but of starting from our knowledge and our contemporary mentality.

A dialogue between the artists of the present and those of the past

The exhibition opens windows to other cultures that depicted things in majesty, including when they were no longer shown for themselves in the Christian West – from the 6th to the 16th century. . She revisits the genre of still life, in the perspective of the eternal dialogue between the artists of the present and those of the past, in a permanent renewal of the gaze: from prehistoric axes to Duchamp’s readymade, passing through the astonishing arrangements of Arcimboldo, by Clara Peeters, Louise Moillon, Zurbarán, Chardin, Anne Vallayer-Coster, Manet, De Chirico, Miró, Nan Goldin, Ron Mueck and many others.

still life
Copyright Louvre museum

THINGS – A History of Still Life

Louvre Museum

Rue de Rivoli,

Paris 1st

From Wednesday 12 October 2022 to Monday 23 January 2023

Friday from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. and Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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