Paris: Black-clad protesters prompt partial evacuation of Louvre

The Louvre briefly evacuated one its busiest rooms on Monday after black-clad environmental activists staged a protest.

Paris: Black-clad protesters prompt partial evacuation of Louvre
Photo: AFP

About a dozen protesters lay down on the floor in front of “The Raft of the Medusa”, an iconic 19th-century painting by Theodore Gericault showing the shipwreck of a French navy frigate.

The demonstrators entered inconspicuously before lying down in front of the painting chanting slogans against Total, an AFP reporter said.

The Louvre confirmed it had evacuated museum-goers from the room for around 10 minutes after the protest around 10.30 am (0930 GMT).


The activist group, which campaigns against the use of fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy, said it staged the demonstration “to symbolise
victims of the oil industry”.

The same group carried out a similar protest at the Louvre in March last year in front of an ancient Greek statue, the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

Some 30 activists had laid a long stretch of black fabric at the base of the statue to symbolise a river of oil, urging the Louvre to end its two-decade collaboration with Total.

The Total Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the energy giant, supports a range of causes from education to the arts.

Activists have carried out similar protests against fellow oil giant BP in London for its sponsorship of the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery
and the British Museum.

A group of activist groups led by have launched the “Free the Louvre” campaign.

The US-founded group takes its name from 350 parts per million, which it says is the safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


New guide to Paris museums – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Paris' museums and art galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

New guide to Paris museums - showing only the nudes
Find your way straight to the most erotic works in Paris galleries. Photo: Guiseppe Cacace/AFP

The online guides to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay museums are produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

The Classic Nudes series has been ruffling some feathers since it was posted online earlier in July, with the Uffizi museum in Florence threatening to sue. Bosses at the Louvre have said only that they are ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay has remained silent on the subject.

The guide for the Musée d’Orsay lists 11 erotic artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and a location for each piece within the museum.

The Sleep by Gustave Courbet. Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP

Among the works featured are;

  • Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet (1863) – which features a group having a picnic in which the woman has lost her clothes (the men remain fully dressed in three-piece suits and ties).
  • Un combat des coqs by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1846) – a nude couple watching a cock fight (that’s cockerels fighting, just to be clear).
  • L’origine du monde by Gustave Courbet (1866) – more than 150 years after it was first painted, the intimate close-up of female genitalia is still making waves. In 2019 Facebook had to pay damages to a French teacher whose account was closed when he posted a picture of the famous artwork.

The guide for the Louvre includes:

Nude young Man by Hippolyte Flandrin. Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
  • Portrait of Madeleine by Marie Guillemine Benoist (1800) – groundbreaking in several senses, this painting is one of the few on the list by a woman, and shows a topless black woman, painted just six years after the abolition of slavery in France’s colonies. 
  • Diane sortant du bain by François Boucher (1742) – one of many paintings on the list showing women having a bath, this features the Greek goddess Diana and her favourite nymph apparently surprised by the artist in the process of drying off after a bath. 
  • Le Jeune homme nu by Hippolyte Flandrin (1835) – most of the flesh shown in both the galleries is female (because that’s the patriarchy for you) but here we have a more rare male nude, a study of a young man sitting and looking rather sad and pensive.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

Both museums, however, form a great day out for all the family and contain a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present both are operating reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

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