Constellation du Louvre by Jean-Marie Appriou Constructs an Anamilistic Myth of the Louvre at Paris+

This year, the Louvre Chalcographie and the Art Workshops of the Rmn-GP will return to PARIS+ by Art Basel. The Musée du Louvre has commissioned an etching by Jean Marie-Appriou as part of their ongoing commitment to commissioning engravings from contemporary artists, a tradition which dates back to the French Revolution. 

Jean-Marie Appriou is best known for his mythical sculptures, which take the form of wild beasts, Odyssian boats and double-headed Medusas, legend solidified in aluminium and bronze. In Constellation du Louvre, Appriou uses charcoal and the restrictive medium of the plate to construct a new fable- an animalistic telling of the history of the Louvre. 

In this folkloric work, the she-wolf (known as “louve” in French) embodies the potential origin of the name “Louvre.” The salamander pays homage to Francis I, who played a pivotal role in developing the Cour Carré and acquired all of Leonardo da Vinci’s works now housed in the museum’s collection. The lion evokes the spirit of Rubens and his contributions to the Medici gallery, while the horse resonates with the equestrian sculpture of Louis XIV by Bernini, facing southeast toward Versailles. The jackal, depicted as Anubis, symbolises Denon and the Egyptian Campaign, which gave rise to the “Napoleon Museum.” Lastly, the dove, a symbol of peace, nods to Georges Braque’s ceiling artwork, signifying the resurgence of modern artists at the Louvre.

Words by Emily Burke