Les Jeunes Ont La Parole – Having her say at the Louvre

By Mariel DeLacy

An art history student at the University of Oregon, Mariel is studying with API in the French Language and Culture Program at the Institut Catholique de Paris, and is also participating in the API/MatadorU Travel Writing Program.

As part of their “Nocturnes Jeunes du Vendredi” The Musée du Louvre invites Paris’ students to present its paintings to the public the first Friday of every month with their “Les Jeunes Ont La Parole” program. And there I was discussing art to late-night museum-goers, Friday, December 2nd and Friday, November 7th with my most famous friends: François Boucher, Nicolas Poussin, Van Dyck, Jacques-Louis David, Simon Vouet, Jean Cousin, Michelangelo Carravaggio, Les Frères Le Nain. What a dream. It just takes incentive and a bit of love for world famous art.

Mariel displaying her knowledge (photo by Melissa Ladd)

Every Wednesday and Friday night since 2004 the “Nocturnes du Louvre” transforms the museum into a more intimate space, welcoming a different and more relaxed crowd than that of the day. There are fewer people, the entrance fee is free for those under 26 and reduced for adults, and visitors can look forward to whole halls isolated to themselves. That same year the Nocturnes added the JOP progam, which fosters a relationship between Paris’ young students, it’s historic museum, and it’s citizens to create an even more personal experience for late night museum-goers. Moreover, it allows students studying around the city to experiment with a job at a museum, as well as to engage the public in discussions about art with their youth. Participants attend both JOP sessions a semester, answer questions about their prepared work to any enquiry from a passerby, receive a Certificate of Participation from the Louvre, and earn free access to the Louvre at any time of day for one year.

Furthermore, the museum promotes international inclusion, as they push students to work in pairs, preferably those coming from different language backgrounds. This way, students can both present their tableau in French as well as in their native or other foreign languages, and thus the pair appeals to and can reach a larger range of Louvre attendees. My partner and I spoke French, English, and Spanish collectively.

Last semester I was enrolled in an Art History class on French Art from the Italian Renaissance to French Impressionism at L’Institute Catholique de Paris; the theme that ultimately narrowed down our choice of paintings to prepare for the JOP. Isabella Torres, my Columbian partner, and I chose the French 18th Century painter François Boucher’s Vénus démande à Vulcan des Armes Pour Énée (Venus Asks Vulcan for the Weapons for Énée). We then had two months to research our artist, his influences from the contemporary époque, historic references, the painting’s themes, allegories, or symbols, the work’s construction, etc. Ultimately, we spent two and a half hours discussing any of the above topics as well as art in general, and were introduced to a wide-range of Parisian tourists and residents. I highly recommend every API student taking full advantage of this opportunity! I can’t imagine an easier way to discover working in the art world than actually doing just that.

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  1. Jeramy Johnson says

    This program is so cool! Jealous 🙂

  2. I love this article! Mariel you are such a great writer. Can’t wait to read more.

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