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The Sky Over the Louvre (Louvre Collection) Hardcover – April 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Louvre Collection
  • Hardcover: 72 pages
  • Publisher: NBM Publishing (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561636029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561636020
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Creating an effective graphic novel about classic art is no simple task, requiring a writer capable of conveying the drama of the artistic process, and an artist up to the challenge of producing images that do justice to the subject matter. Fortunately, Yslaire and Carriere have both. Will reward those who seek it out. --Publishers Weekly

For adults, a reasonable response to graphic novels would be: well... why? "The Sky Over The Louvre" provokes a different response. Interest, for one. Understanding - even mastery - of a fascinating historical/art episode, for another. A powerful and enjoyable esthetic experience, for a third. And then, just to be shallow, there's the cool factor - on a coffee table, this book makes you look good.
Was I self-conscious reading this book? Not once
Did I get a better sense of David and Robespierre? Yes, and quickly.
Was I grateful for the art history lesson? Yes, and also for the way the paintings in this book are accurately copied and for two pages of artistic references.
More smart, beautiful hardcover comic books for grownups, please. --The Huffington Post

I love NBM's Louvre graphic novels, so how could I resist The Sky Over the Louvre, the latest addition, which looks lush and beautiful. --Brigid Alverson, Comic Book Resources

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 5 customer reviews
Heaven, like Nature, abhors a vacuum.
Jesse Kornbluth
The words in this book flow very well and compliment their associated images.
Matthew Kirshenblatt
As far as I can tell, this book is it.
Autodidact

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you get to page 830 of Simon Schama's "Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution," you know that Robespierre decided that the Revolution required an image to replace the discarded idea of God, so he asked Jacques-Louis David to produce a painting of the new "Supreme Being."

This story would make a lively chapter in the endless battle between art as personal expression and art as propaganda, but Schama doesn't tell how it played out. David was obsessed with the features of Joseph Bara, a 13-year-old "martyr" of the Revolution. This was, he knew, not what Robespierre wanted, so he dawdled. Robespierre grew impatient --- he began dropping hints that the ideal visage for such a figure was his own. Fortunately for David, the political compass twirled and Robespierre discovered firsthand the unpleasantness of the guillotine blade.

There's more --- a splendidly ironic punch line.

But if you want the full account, you need to read a comic book.

Excuse me: a graphic novel.

Another surprise: This one has A-list credentials.

The sponsor is the Louvre. The artist is the esteemed French cartoonist Bernar Yslaire. The writer is Jean-Claude Carrière, the favorite collaborator of Luis Buñuel; he wrote the screenplays for "Belle de Jour," "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and "That Obscure Object of Desire," among others.

But still...a graphic novel?

If you're Old School like me, you haven't jumped into this craze. At best, you think it's a good idea for wired kids who grew up on comics and don't have the attention span for real books. But for adults, a reasonable response to graphic novels would be: well....why?

"The Sky Over The Louvre" provokes a different response. Interest, for one.
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Format: Hardcover
It is the Eighth of Thermidor Year I and the French Revolution finds itself in a quandary. The old order -- the monarchy, the aristocracy, the Church and pagan culture have been -- persecuted and destroyed: leaving a wound in nation and psyche of the French people. It is up to Robespierre and the artist David to fill the void that the revolutionaries have created. They must turn the wound in France into a womb for a new kind of artistic and spiritual life. Robespierre wants to use this to canonize the "Martyrs of the Revolution": Marat and the young soldier Bara. He also wants to create a rational-spiritual conception of an ideal called the Supreme Being. The Revolutionary leader tasks David with the creation of painting the Being and Bara: as well as creating a festival to celebrate "a religion of reason and human secularism."

It is an experiment on a grand and national scale: an attempt to create a whole new human society using France as a canvass and a bloody workshop. It is a challenge for the Revolutionaries to "make something better" from the remnants of what they have supposedly destroyed and replaced.

The Louvre itself is an example of this ideal: an old palace made into a museum that is not only to all French Citizens but it is also a place of creation for many of the Revolution's artists and is, in the end, the artificial workshop wound-womb where this ultimate creation will commence. Yet as the narrative continues -- an elegant pastiche of the comics form and an illustrated novel -- it becomes clear that the only thing that will be born from the blood-soaked soil from The Terror, the only divinity that gains from the sacrifice of many Citizens, is Madame Guillotine and Death.

The Sky Over the Louvre is an excellent book that speaks on more than one level.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Autodidact on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this book several days ago and am still haunted by it. It is beautiful and devastating. The emotional impact of the final events is unspeakable.

Though set during the French Revolution, episodes in The Sky over the Louvre strike chords augmented by events of our own time. The use made of Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman are contemporary echoes of the use made of the murdered boy, Bara, by the French revolutionaries, to point out just one resonance between this book and the current wars, uprisings and revolutions. What must be sacrificed for an ideal? What are the consequences of exerting control through terror? Without truth, what IS beauty? If these questions and others of similar depth are of concern to you, read this book.

I have to mention that I am very disappointed at the scarcity of Yslaire's work available in English translation. As far as I can tell, this book is it. However, a brief internet search hints at a linked masterwork, beginning with Sambre and continuing through and beyond Le ciel au-dessus de Bruxelles (in which a Khazar youth called Jules Engell Stern appears) to The Sky over the Louvre (which features the Khazar Jules Stern). I will have to try to read more in the original French. I think any English-only readers must be missing out on an astonishing body of work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This a wonderful series...the stories are all taken place in the Louvre. They all have great storylines and have a strange story that I loved. Of course I love the art in each book also. You can find all the books in the series on amazon.com. This one I got in just a few days and in mint condition would use the vendor again.

It is a great series and very affordable from this vendor and of course amazon.com.
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The Sky Over the Louvre (Louvre Collection)
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