Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as Good as Being There, February 11, 2012
This review is from: The Louvre: All the Paintings (Hardcover)
Phew! Just got through this book. I didn't read it all, of course, but I did turn every page. I now have biceps to die for, as this thing is a workout! You can't plop it on your lap or sit in bed and read it. Instead, it really is a coffee-table book, and a large one at that (3+ inches thick!).

Many of those who have posted here have blasted the quality of the DVD. I didn't put it in my computer, so I have no opinion about it. I bought the book for the book, not the DVD.

Anyhow, the book does include all or most of the paintings from the Louvre. I was a bit disappointed at first, as I was expecting high-resolution, full-page photos, but if the authors had done that, it would have to be a three-volume series. There are a few pictures that take up all or most of the page, but most of the photos are a quater-page size or less, some no bigger than a large postage stamp. The image quality isn't always the best on some of the pieces, but I've seen worse. Curiously, some of the paintings show better than others, such that you're able to see the true quality of the piece, with all of its folds, nicks, and marks. Others are just small and obscure.

What I like about the book is that there is a nice description of the art and/or artist adjacent to each piece. This is really helpful, as you don't get this information when you see the pieces in the museum itself. Thus, for those of us who 'want more' when we hit the museums, this book helps to fill that void.

The book contains a nice description of the history of the Louvre, though some of the 'uglier' aspects of its past (think Naploean) aren't highlighted in excessive depth, perhaps for obvious reasons.

Another nice thing about this book is that the paintings are grouped (e.g., the Italian School; the Northern Schools; the French School; and the Spanish School). Too often, museum books just throw the paintings in, with no logic, sequence or organization. The book also indexes every artist and painting by name (in two separate indexes, which I appreciated).

Too often, museum books are really just a homage to their more famous artist(s), and the others are given a cameo appearance. This book doesn't do that. You would never know that Leonardo da Vinci was any more significant/popular than any other artist in the book.

If you've been to the Louvre, the book will stir nice memories, and you'll keep saying, "Wow, how did I miss that one?" If you haven't been to the Louvre, you'll see why the museum commands the attention it does. For those who have visited other museums in Europe, the book makes for a nice comparison (say, to the Prado, for example).

Great purchase. Just make sure you have the strength to pick it up and the space to store it!
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