THE LOUVRE by James Gardner

Library Journal Recommends THE LOUVRE: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum by James Gardner

Gardner (Buenos Aires) charts the progress of the Louvre in this comprehensive text. Starting as a fortress in the Middle Ages, the Louvre became a royal residence under Charles V and then the French monarch’s primary abode under Renaissance king François I. In the late 17th century, when Louis XIV abandoned the estate and moved to the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre was used to house the five great académies of France, including the Académie Royale de Peintre et de Sculpture and the Académie Française, finally opening as a museum in 1793 during the French Revolution. From here, the progression of the Louvre’s art collecting is examined from the treasures plundered during Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaigns as well as works acquired from archaeological excavations, donations from collectors, and savvy purchases by the museum’s curators. A detailed, clearly marked floor plan helps readers navigate the different wings of this enormous and complicated building from the Louvre’s days as a palace under various rulers to those as a museum. VERDICT: Recommended to readers interested in the history of France, the history of architecture, and museology.

The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World’s Most Famous Museum by James Gardner will be published on May 5, 2020 by Atlantic Monthly Press in North America and Atlantic Books in the UK.

James Gardner is an American art critic and literary critic based in New York and Buenos Aires. He is the author of six books, including Buenos Aires: The Biography of a City. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, and the British Spectator. He was the art critic at the New York Post and wrote architecture criticism for the New York Observer, before serving as the architecture critic at the New York Sun. He is now a contributing editor at The Magazine Antiques.