Winner of a 2012 Communicator Award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts, this documentary tells the fascinating story of Samuel F. B. Morse's monumental painting "Gallery of the Louvre," one of the most lauded American paintings of the early 19th century.
Known today primarily for his role in the development of the electromagnetic telegraph and Morse code, Samuel F. B. Morse began his career as a painter. "Gallery of the Louvre" was the culmination of a three-year period of study in Europe. For his canvas, Morse depicted the Louvre's greatest masterpieces "reinstalled" in one of the museum’s grandest spaces, the Salon Carré, envisioning that space as a workshop in which individuals could study, sketch, and copy from his imagined assemblage.
Morse exhibited the painting only twice, in New York and New Haven, where it was highly praised by critics and connoisseurs but rejected by the public. Crushed by the response, Morse soon ceased painting altogether, moving on to his more successful experiments in communications technology.
Close to 200 years later, "Gallery of the Louvre" underwent a six-month conservation treatment in the studio of American painting specialists Lance Mayer and Gay Myers. The treatment was intended to study Morse's technical processes, and to repair damages that had occurred over time.
This film documents the conservation process, which yielded numerous insights into the story of the painting's creation, including how Morse employed experimental techniques and materials in the construction of his composition and how his methods and the rigors of transatlantic travel caused damages that necessitated extensive repairs probably undertaken by the artist himself before the painting's first public exhibition.
The film features interviews with conservators, curators, and other specialists, and is packed with exciting new information.
DVD. 30 minutes.
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