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Exhibition: the happy shambles of cabinets of curiosities

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View of Jacques Attali's hourglasses. Jean-Marie del Moral / Fund for Culture Hélène and Edouard Leclerc

The cabinets of curiosities have for decades been the favors of the history of art. In France, the subject has been studied by Krzysztof Pomian, Antoine Schnapper and Patrick Mauriès. German, English or Italian aristocratic collections have also been widely examined in their country. So that the principle of the juxtaposition of natural wonders and precious objects of human fabrication is now widely known, so much so that it has become one of the current ways of making Show the exhibitions.

The main architect of this development is Jean-Hubert Martin, at Oiron Castle (Deux-Sèvres) from 1991, in Venice at Palazzo Fortuny in 2007 and, more recently, in 2016. In Paris at the Grand Palais. Effective process: who would resist the attraction of a capharnaüm where rarities of all kinds meet, out of any geographical or chronological classification?

Read also The comeback of the cabinet of curiosities in the salons chic

The curious will go this summer to Landerneau, the Fund Helene and Edouard Leclerc for culture having in turn lost the charms of chaos. Moderate chaos however: the place was squared in fifteen squares, each being entrusted to a museum, a collector or an artist. In these fifteen rooms is added a corridor, where Jacques Attali shows his collection of hourglasses facing quotations from famous authors whose time is the subject. This general scheme was decided by Patrick Mauriès, whose presence is natural, and Laurent Le Bon, deciding for the occasion the museum of this other madman of curiosity, Picasso.

The risk of misunderstanding

In these cells are housed the Museum of Natural History of Paris, the Uffizi Gallery and the Opificio delle Pietre Hard ("museum of hard stone") of Florence (Italy), the MuCEM from Marseille or the lesser known Le Secq des Tournelles Museum, dedicated to the iron arts, in Rouen. They sent to Landerneau several of their masterpieces, a model of the Saint-Pulcin in olive encrusted with mother-of-pearl, ivory and ebony, carved Madeleine. in a coral, Siamese brother wax model, ivory olifant … Each room is open on its angles, so that the visit is zigzagging demolished with the visual solicitations, which are plummeted because the lenders have rivaled the precious and the spectacular.

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