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The Musée du Louvre-Lens is organising one of the most ambitious exhibitions ever devoted to Homer, the “prince of poets”, author of two celebrated epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, that have been an integral part of Western societies since antiquity. It will explore the origins of Homer’s fascinating infl uence on Western artists and culture down the centuries, and shed light on its many mysteries.

Achilles, Hector, Ulysses: these names continue to resonate in people’s minds today. From antiquity to the Renaissance, artists borrowed from Homer’s stories a multitude of fundamental subjects that have shaped the history of art. What is the reason for this uninterrupted success?
This exhibition of international scope sets out to explore how artists drew on Homer and the heroes of the Iliad and the Odyssey. It also provides an opportunity to examine numerous questions: Did Homer exist? Was he the sole author of these monumental works? Where and when did he live?
“Homeromania” has led the Homeric poems to be used repeatedly as sources of inspiration. The exhibition will explore the various aspects of this phenomenon and analyse its diverse manifestations in language, literature, the sciences, the arts, morality and life.

Through almost 250 works, dating from antiquity to the present day, the exhibition offers an unprecedented immersion in the riches of the Homeric world. It presents a selection of works as dense and varied as Homer’s infl uence, ranging from paintings and objects from ancient Greece, sculptures and casts, and tapestries to paintings by Rubens, Antoine Watteau, Gustave Moreau, André Derain, Marc Chagall and Cy Twombly.



Cy Twombly - Achilles Mourning the Death of Patroclus, 1962, matériaux : huile sur toile, mine de plomb, H. 259 cm ; L. 302 cm. © Cy Twombly Foundation. Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-GP / P. Migeat
Portrait of the Blind Homer, 2e siècle après J.-C., d’après un original grec créé vers 150 avant J.-C., Paris, musée du Louvre © Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN-GP / T. Ollivier