Mixing art styles 131 years apart at the Louvre

As I was strolling around the Louvre yesterday, I happened into the “Henry II Room” and looked up at the ceiling to see this unusual combination. Here we’ve got an ornate carved and gilded ceiling, suggesting something from the 1800’s, and then these early modern art-style panels within them. I have to admit I found it to be a somewhat jarring mix; while I like the paintings, they definitely stand out as being from another time.

It seems the original painted panels were removed in 1938; there’s no picture showing what the original panels looked like, but the wall label explained that three canvases by Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853) originally graced the ceiling, but were removed (without any further explanation) in 1938. So what we’re seeing here are three canvases, titled “The Birds,” by Georges Braque, commissioned and installed in 1953.

ceiling paintings by Georges Braque in the Henry II room at the Louvre

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