Photo of the Week


Left to right: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Ferris Wheel. © Paris Update


Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Drawing through the ages

"Apples" (1944), by Henri Matisse. Eric Coatalem Gallery.

> Salon du Dessin: 39 galleries showing works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary. Palais Brogniart, Paris, March 22-27.

Contemporary drawing fair
> Drawing Now: 73 galleries, Carreau du Temple, Paris, March 23-26.

More contemporary drawings
>Ddessin: 20 galleries. Atelier Richelieu, Paris, March 24-26.

Art and design fair
> PAD (Paris Art + Design),
67 galleries, Tuileries Garden, Paris, March 22-26.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Audrey Dana's Si j'Étais un Homme, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, Feb. 24.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.




Art - Temporary Exhibitions


Chevaliers et Bombardes

Win Some, Lose Some:
A Century of War in France


Jeanne d’Arc au Siège de Paris. Vigiles de Charles VII. Martial d’Auvergne, 1484. © Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

To mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt (Azincourt in French) and the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Marignano, the Musée de l’Armée is exploring the twin themes of knights and artillery during that one- hundred-year period in the exhibition “Knights and Bombards.”

On October 25, 1415, the English – helped notably by longbow-wielding Welshmen – defeated the French on a field churned brown with mud and red with blood in a deadly clash during the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). According to one anecdote, the longbowmen showed their first two fingers – the ones used to fire the arrows to slaughter the knights, horses and men at arms – in an offensive V sign to the captured French, the same


“La bataille d’Azincourt.” Anonymous. Enguerrand de Monstrelet, Chroniques, XVe Siècle. © Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

fingers that the French had boasted they would cut off the hands of the archers before the battle began.

That momentous battle still inspires debate today. In 2010, a mock trial in Washington, D.C., noted by The Guardian in a recent article, ruled that the English killing of French prisoners behind the battle lines was a war crime.

The exhibition reports that military codes at the time reserved the use of artillery for town sieges rather than the battlefield, where knights rode in full armor and men fought in close combat.

The humiliating defeat at Agincourt spurred the French king, Charles VII, to shake up the army and form an artillery regiment. Among the examples on show are mortars and cannon, along with cannonballs of stone, and lead and iron.

The cannon builders signed and sometimes decorated their work. One of the artillery pieces, dated 1474 and signed by Jean de Malines in old French, has a dog’s head sculpted on its deadly barrel. Another exhibit, the Book of Artillery, dated 1445 and drawn up in Burgundy, served as a user’s manual.

Artillery was key to helping France win back its land from the English, with firepower defeating the occupiers at the Battle of Castillon in 1453 and finally putting an end to the Hundred Years’ War.

Tucked in among the martial exhibits of swords, glittering armor, longbows and crossbows is a first folio Shakespeare manuscript, dated 1632, of Henry V, the play in which the English sovereign rallied the outnumbered and weary troops before the Battle of Agincourt with this speech: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he today that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother...”

Shakespeare also refers to artillery, as Henry V urges his men once more into the breach in another English victory in 1415, the siege of Harfleur, ordering his troops to “Let pry through the portage of the head / Like the brass cannon...”

The exhibition also pays tribute to that remarkable heroine of the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc, the young woman who successfully led the French into battle against the English and then was handed over to the enemy for trial and burned at the stake.

The century-long period covered by “Knights and Bombards” ends in 1515, the year of the glorious French defeat of the Swiss at the Battle of Marignano under François I, as if to prove that the French were not always on the losing side.

Pierre Tran

Musée de l’Armée: Hôtel des Invalides, 129 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris. Métro: La Tour-Maubourg. Tel.: 01 44 42 38 77. Open 10am-5pm. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission: €8.50. Through January 24.

Reader reaction: Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).

Please support Paris Update by ordering books from Paris Update’s Amazon store at no extra cost. Click on your preferred Amazon location: U.K., France, U.S.

More reviews of Paris art shows.

© 2015 Paris Update