It’s official! The Musée du Louvre announced on January 3, 2019 that their attendance of 10.9 million visitors in 2018 surpassed their previous high of 9.7 million in 2012. The increase since 2017 was 25%. What brought more crowds to this glorious palace of art? Could it be the colorful swashbuckling strokes of Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix, whose retrospective graced its noble galleries from March 29th through July 23rd? Maybe.
More likely, the blingy glam video “Apesh*t” produced and starring the King and Queen of the Music Industry, Mr. and Mrs. Carter, better known to us as Beyoncé and Jay Z. Woven into a dizzying tapestry of masterpieces and minor pieces filmed in situ at the Louvre, this media extravaganza, directed by Ricky Saiz and choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, celebrates their latest album Everything is Love: The Carters. More astonishingly, this already award-winning video dropped during the Carters’ ambitious multi-national summer 2018 tour On the Run II. The amount of energy and creativity required for such excellence defies imagination. Benoît Debie received the 2018 MTV Award for best cinematography. The video’s song was co-written by Pharrell Williams, Beyoncé Knowles, Shawn Carter, Quavious Keyate Marshall, and Kiari Kendrell Cephus, and co-produced by Pharrell Williams, Beyoncé, Jay Z and Stuart White.
But what does the video mean, my students asked? What do all those Egyptian, Classical and European works of art infer about Bey, Jay and post-Lemonade? Jay Z claims that their art is their therapy. Could be. I think the lyrics explain it all to you.
So carefully watch, listen and repeat, several times. Remember to stop the video in order to study each scene. For example, the dancers in front of Jacques-Louis David’s Sacré de Napoleon, aka Coronation of Emperor Napoleon, 1805-7, remind me of Pre-Dynastic Egyptian goddess figures. Next, get thee to the Louvre to follow our exclusive Bonjour Paris self-guided “Beyoncé and Jay Z at the Louvre” tour, presented here with captions in English. By doing so, you contribute to the next record-breaking year for the Louvre in 2019. Happy Hunting!