Did you know that some of the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum in Paris are showcased in the Louvre-Lens museum, only one hour from Calais? There is no longer the need to travel to Paris to see these magnificent works of art. Opened in December 2012, the Louvre-Lens aims to give visitors a fresh perspective on some of the most celebrated artworks in the world.
The Painter of the Sun King by Charles Le Brun – Temporary exhibitions gallery
18th May to 29th August, 2016
The French painter and theorist Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) has pride of place at the Louvre-Lens. Just like Delacroix for the Romantic Movement or Monet for the Impressionists, Le Brun epitomises, like no other, the art of a particular period: the Great Century. This period has always fascinated me. The son of a modest sculptor of gravestones, Le Brun was the leading painter for Louis XIV for nearly thirty years. He deserves our admiration, most notably, for the decoration of the Hall of Mirrors in the Château de Versailles. If you’re travelling inland from the French coast, be sure to stop off at the Louvre-Lens for this fascinating exhibition.
A former mine yard turned into a prestigious museum
Lens, in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France, is an industrial coal mining city, which suffered various set-backs during the 20th Century. Many districts were razed to the ground during World War One, including several surrounding the new museum site, and following the closure of many pits during the 1960s large areas were left as industrial wastelands.
The Louvre-Lens Museum is located on a former mine yard, in a steel and glass structure bathed in light and drawn by the Japanese architects of the Sanaa Agency. Surrounded by 50 acres of parkland, the museum displays prestigious collections from the Louvre Museum as well as major temporary exhibitions.
In the main wing, the Time Gallery offers an unusual route through the History of Art, from the invention of writing in Mesopotamia during the 4th millennium before our era, through to the industrial revolution in Europe in the mid-19th century. Over 200 masterpieces from the Louvre are exhibited in one spectacular area covering 3000 m². The innovative staging which is both chronological and multidisciplinary opens a new dialogue between eras, techniques and civilisations.
Grande Galerie © Laurent Lamacz / Ville de Lens.
An English multimedia guide also enables you to follow, through time and geographic locations, the evolution of certain themes such as portrait art, the representation of power or even the place of religion in life.
Getting there and around
Just a 45-minute drive on the motorway from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Calais Terminal.
Entrance to museum is via rue Paul Bert or via rue Georges Bernanos
Telephone: +33 (0)3 21 18 62 62
The museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm (last admission 5.15 pm)
The museum is closed on Tuesdays, 1st May, 25th December and 1st January.
Entry to the museum is free until the end of 2016.
Admission fee applies for temporary exhibitions. See Museum website for details.
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