The Sky over the Louvre

Bernard Yslaire and Jean-Claude Carriere. NBM/ComicsLit (www.nbmpub.com), $19.99 (72p) ISBN 978-1-56163-602-0
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. Set during the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution, Louvre relates the story of revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre's relationship with the genius neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David. The book is ostensibly about the history of the Louvre museum; however, the narrative mostly attends to David's creative struggles for the new republic, with particular emphasis on his work The Death of Bara. While Carriere's story examines Robespierre's Deist philosophy well, it does not provide much context for readers unfamiliar with the period and its major players. Luckily, Yslaire's rich artwork complements the story flawlessly, with a generous number of classical painting reprints and expressive portraits to convey the art of the era. With its esoteric subject matter and liberal use of male nudity, Louvre is not aimed at the typical graphic novel fan, but will reward those who seek it out. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
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