Louvre: Maure, dit Le Moro

I asked @medievalpoc if she had any requests while I was in Paris. Museum requests, that is. Louvre! Somehow I’d not even thought of going there, in that kind of, “Yeah, Paris … Paris stuff … Doin’ it …” vacuity I’m sometimes hit with. She also had a link for Louvre stuff already on her tumblr, and so Maure, known as Le Moro was one of the two pieces I was determined to not leave before seeing and getting quietly desperate to find around the 7th hour.

Found. Photographed. Oogled.

Flanked by two mighty pillars at the entrance to the Denon Wing’s B Salle on the ground floor in case you wanna go directly to the awesomeness. For scale, it’s around 4 metres high including plinth, so he’s more-or-less human-sized. As for who he is, he’s a fragment in black marble from Classical Rome, recut and completed in 1611-12-ish in Rome by Nicolas Cordier during the Baroque craze for the Classical Era and accompanying ‘improvements’ on old sculptures. (The bed of Hermaphrodite endormi is another example of this.) The poet F. Francucci (who I can find nothing about) noted its existence in 1613 while she was in Palazzo Borghese outside Rome. It was located in Villa Borghese, built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese and gives its name to the Moor Room. In the 18th century, it was moved to the new ‘Bohemian’ Egyptian Room. It’s been in the Louvre since 1807. All that from the caption plus some poking around the internet.

It’s also one of three sculptures I saw which broadly were called “Bohemian’—along with La Zingarella which I’ll blog shortly. I asked Florence (with whom I’m staying) about this, and she said the term ‘bohémien’ in French refers explicitly to Romani people, despite its parallel use as a term for shabby artists living their beatnik lifestyles. My French is just terrible enough to set me off repeatedly on the wrong track, so I’ll leave that discussion of politically loaded terms for now. Just to say there were a lot of works in the Louvre using various terms like this for works with Romani subjects.