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Not only is this the most unique format for a graphic novel
it’s probably the most unique graphic novel I’ve read. The Sky Over the Louvre
takes place during the French revolution and features a long list of paintings
from the museum including: Woman With A
Mirror, The Young Beggar, General Bonaparte, Death of Joseph Bara and Madame Charles-Louis Trudaine just to
name a few. Altogether, the book features thirty-eight paintings from the Louvre to add a very authentic feel to
the story and the book.
The story itself is about the relationship between the painter David and Robespierre aka The Incorruptible. Robespierre is basically trying to tear down the country and build it anew without any of the old ways to interfere. No more church, instead he was to have the Supreme Being a faceless person that embodies the spirit of the nation. During this time people are denouncing each other as being against the country and against The Incorruptible and thus he creates The Terror; a time in French history in which thousands of people were sent to the guillotine.
The book is very profound and informative. There’s a mix of real historical elements to the book and then there are added elements of fiction to make the story interesting and give the author Bernar Yslaire’s view on how the events might have unfolded. Yslaire does a fantastic job of balancing historical information with story to create a very unique graphic novel.
The art is brilliant and captures the time period wonderfully. Artist Jean-Claude Carriere has a great style and captures a wide range of emotions with his art. The book in general looks like Carriere sketched then entire thing. Rarely does he clean up his pencils so that you can still see the overlap in details. It works wonderfully as it gives the reader an insight to his artistic process. His style is very distinct and yet he’s able to completely change his style when doing mock sketches of real paintings. It’s all very interesting.
This book is not for everyone. In fact if you have no real interest in art or history this book is not for you. The story does not follow the traditional “American” story telling style of having a beginning middle and end at least not in the typical length spent with each section. The beginning is just a few pages before we’re end the middle of the story which is the bulk of the book. But there was something I enjoyed about the book and I think it’s because it’s so different.
Overall Score – 8.0/10
*Not for fanboys*