Power Plays is an art exhibition presented by the Petite Galerie of the Louvre Museum in Paris. The idea behind the exhibition is centered around the balance of power and how art can be used to do or undo established political orders. It showcases forty works that explore how art has been used as propaganda to protest and subvert authority, legitimacy and the prestige rulers have. The works on display were sourced from the best, most prestigious museums in France like the Musée National du Château de Pau, the Château de Versailles, the Musée du Louvre and the Musée des Beaux-arts de la Ville de Paris.
From September 27, 2017, to July 2, 2018, patrons can view the artworks which have been divided into four sections to showcase the different codes of political power and social discourse spanning centuries from antiquity to modern days.
The first section explores « Princely roles » and functions such as builders, priests, rulers, warriors, and protectors. Some of the notable paintings in this room include the ancient Egyptian Triad of Osorkon II, the enamel Crucifixion Altarpiece by Leonard Limosin and Philippe de Champaigne’s Louis XIII.
The second section, however, focuses on highlighting how art can be used as a vehicle for propaganda. It is aptly named « Legitimacy through Persuasion » and centers around Henry IV and Louis XVI. Visitors can enjoy paintings and sculptures from notable French artists like Frans Pourbus, Ingres, François-Joseph Bosio, and François-Joseph Bosio.
As for the third section, « The Antique Model », it sheds light on equestrian statues to explore the ancient world and among these works, there are a bronze of Charles as well as the Bald and the Barberini Ivory leaf.
The « Insignia Of Power » is the theme presented in the fourth and final room. It holds paintings of kings and rulers in their pomp and regalia. In this section portraits of Napoleon 1 and Louis XIV by François Gérard and Antoine-François Callet respectively.
The exhibition has been running since the end of September 2017 and will continue on until the first week of July 2018 at the Petite Galerie of the Louvre Museum.
Paul Mironneau, Director of the Musée National et Domaine du Château de Pau; Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre
Florence Dinet, Musée du Louvre
From September 27th, 2017 to July 2nd, 2018
The Petite Galerie, Richelieu wing
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
€15 (permanent collections + exhibitions)