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Visiting the Louvre? This One May Help...
on September 10, 2007
The Pocket Louvre is a professionally rendered small-format paperback with two goals: first, to present a set of full-color reproductions of many of the Louvre's most famous works, and second, to assist the viewer in organizing trips to the Louvre in order to see these works in person. The book does a good job of meeting both goals. Whether you are planning on visiting the Louvre or just want a chance to see reprints of some of the more famous works held therein, you'll likely find what you need here.
The Louvre is a mega-museum so immense in size that it makes some of the world's other museums look like booths at an indoor mall. The building complex is so vast, and the museum's holdings so extensive, that it would easily require multiple return visits over some period of time to even begin to see any significant amount of it in any detail. The buildings themselves which house the Louvre have been added to and reworked over some 500 years, and so any visitor to the gallery (there were over eight million of them in 2006 alone) will be met with sprawling galleries, staircases large enough to hold small homes, interconnecting passages, an underground complex, central eating and shopping areas, and more. It can make the unprepared feel faint of heart and can be overwhelming even if one has visited more than once in the past. The Pocket Louvre helps the visitor navigate through this vast setting by breaking the complex into manageable sections by art genre, and then provides written descriptions of the path to take to see the principal works for each. In addition, the book gives us alternatives: do we want a short, or a long, trip? For each, we are provided directions, suggestions, and even some small-scale maps to help us both plan and execute our trip.
The photos in The Pocket Louvre are first-rate. Images are crisp, clear, with good color reproduction, and because the entire text is on semi-gloss paper, possess excellent overall quality. Because the book itself is small enough to be carried to the Louvre itself, it also means, however, that the photos are small, as well. You'll be able to get a very nice review of the art in the Louvre by reviewing the text, but don't think you are getting a coffee table-sized art book. Nevertheless, the photos are reproduced well enough to enjoy using the book as a virtual tour through the museum, and the descriptions of each, though minimal, are informative enough to help us understand what we are looking at.
A true bargain at its price, and a useful aid for a Louvre visit, the book should be in the library of every art lover, art historian, or past or future Louvre visitor.