By David Prudhomme translated by Joe Johnson (NBM ComicsLit/Louvre: Musée du Louvre Éditions)
Some years ago the Louvre Museum in Paris began an intriguing and immensely rewarding collaboration with the world of comics, and their latest beguiling translated bande dessinée is now available in English, courtesy of those fine folks at NBM.
Cruising Through the Louvre is a multimedia paean to the art of drawing; a beautiful, oversized hardback graphic art narrative which follows the artist on a bewildering tour of the galleries as he searches for his beloved Jeanne.
As he searches for her, he realises that the pictures on the walls, the statues in the halls and the mementoes of world history all form a perfect sequential narrative like his own comics works.
…And then he grasps how the art and the observers are all locked in a mirror-clear relationship feeding off and entertaining each other…
Author/artist Davis Prudhomme was born in Tours in 1969 and, after studying at the École de l’Image in Angoulême, began his cartooning career with Ninon Secrète in 1992, collaborating with Patrick Cothias. Whilst producing that series he worked on solo projects ‘La Tour des Miracles’ (adapted from George Brassens’ book), ‘L’Oisiveraie’, ‘Voyage aux Pays des Serbes’ and ‘Port Nawak’.
Amongst his most notable award-winning efforts are La Marie en plastique, Rébétiko and this fabulous graphic rumination of the creation and situation of art, which first debuted in 2012 as La Traversée du Louvre.
The book in question, which manages to be beguiling, expansive and charmingly funny by turn, is produced in close collaboration with the forward-looking authorities of the Musée du Louvre, but this is no gosh-wow “Night-at-the-Museum” thinly-concealed catalogue of contents from a stuffy edifice of public culture. Rather, here is a sedately seductive, introspectively loving examination of the power of art and history to move the masses and especially the creatively inclined…
Supplementing the voyage of narrative interaction is a fact-packed data-file section detailing the accoutrements and educational and scientific achievements of the institution (how many other art museums have their own functioning particle accelerator?), subdivided into mind-boggling details about ‘The Building’, ‘The Works’, ‘The Visitors’ and ‘The Agents’, plus all the traditional Additional Information and dedication addenda you’d expect and hope to see.
This is another astounding and marvellously magical comics experience no art lover or devotee of the visual narrative medium can afford to miss…
© Futuropolis/Musée du Louvre Éditions 2012. © NBM 2016 for the English translation.