The Sky Over the Louvre by Bernar Yslaire & Jean-Claude Carrière

The Sky Over the Louvre
by Bernar Yslaire & Jean-Claude Carrière
NBM Comics Lit, 2011

An extremely complicated way of recounting the origins of Jacques-Louis David’s 1794 painting Death of Joseph Bara. It’s Paris, at the height of the Terror, and people are disappearing forever after being denounced for counter-revolutionary activities by rivals, often out of petty spite. In the middle of this, after finishing his magnificent and unconventional Death of Marat, painter Jacques-Louis David becomes obsessed with a thirteen-year old blonde boy from Khazaria, eventually (after some unpleasant taxidermy) to become the model for an idealized portrait of revolutionary martyr Bara.

Carrière, the screenwriter for Danton, obviously knows his stuff, and the gorgeous artwork by Yslaire (Hislaire) appears to have been pencilled by hand and then finished digitally with grey shading and white highlights, giving the increasingly tense figures a frenetic energy. A useful appendix lists the details of all the paintings appearing in the book, many of which are in the Louvre, who commissioned this work. Because, y’know, the French like graphic novels.

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