Exhibition The Le Nain Mystery
from March 22, 2017 to June 26, 2017
Louis le Nain, Famille de paysans
© RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
The exhibition is organized by the Musée du Louvre-Lens, the Kimbell Art Museum in Forth Worth, Texas, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It was made possible thanks to the support of Crédit Agricole Nord de France.
The art of the brothers Le Nain is one of the great mysteries of 17th-century French painting. Antoine, Louis, and Mathieu were from Laon, in Picardy, and in Paris. In the course of the 1640s, they produced a group of highly original masterpieces. In their most celebrated works simple peasants are portrayed with unprecedented nobility and dignity.
The exhibition looks at every aspect of their art, from the small paintings on copper to the famous peasant scenes and, of course, the religious and mythological pictures. Their output is set against the context of their followers, whose works were often confused with those of the three brothers. This testifies to the success they met with during their lifetimes, before being gradually forgotten and remaining so until their rediscovery by the writer and art critic Champfleury in the mid-19th century.
Nicolas Milovanovic, Musée du Louvre, and Luc Piralla, Musée du Louvre-Lens.
From March 22 to June 26, 2017
Musée du Louvre-Lens