Cruising Through the Louvre

Cruising Through the Louvre

The latest graphic novel from the international series set in the Louvre Museum is by David Prudhomme. In Cruising Through the Louvre, instead of a story centered on the many works of art the museum contains, he focuses on those who come to see it.

The pages appear to be reproduced from pencils, giving everything a smudgy look, without strong definition between the viewers and the art viewed. That’s part of his point, but stylistically, the eye doesn’t have many resting points, blurring elements together. I also didn’t care for the opening, where the artist has a cell-phone conversation about the progress of his book. (Later, he acknowledges that in real life, taking phone calls in the museum is against the rules.) Like hearing someone in a real museum, I found it a self-centered distraction.

Cruising Through the Louvre

There’s no story here, just a journey through various galleries with various inhabitants. Some individual images are interesting, particularly in juxtaposition between life and art — a teacher surrounded by kids in front of a picture of the Virgin Mary surrounded by angels, a striking woman viewing the Mona Lisa — but I found the people too often appearing insubstantial. It’s hard to make out details at times.

I expect a book like this to make me want to visit the museum, and Cruising Through the Louvre was surprisingly ineffective in this regard. It all blurs together as I turn the pages, without the ability to understand the appeal of particular pieces. A later theme, about a flying head and body parts, was insightful but vaguely off-putting. This is a better memento, after visiting the Louvre, than an invitation.

“You can drown yourself quickly here,” says our narrator. That’s true, particularly as so much of the book is a grey wash, sweeping over without drawing the reader into the images. Find out more at the publisher’s website; they provided a review copy.

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