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Louvre Museum collaborates with perfumer to create fragrances inspired by artworks

grand odalisque louvre

The Louvre has teamed up with perfume company Officine Universelle Buly to create fragrances inspired by eight artworks living at the museum.

The range of scents will be available in the museum’s pop-up shop on the lower floor of the Pyramid from July 3 until January 2020.

The museum recruited Officine Universelle Buly co-director’s Ramdane Touhami and Victoire de Taillac to develop the perfumes, which include scents based on the ‘Venus de Milo’ and Thomas Gainsborough’s ‘Conversation in a Park’.

“This project is a rare privilege for Parisians,” said De Taillac. “What do works feel beyond their subjects? This collaboration is our answer.”

Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory fragrances

venus de milo louvre‘The Valpinçon Bather’ by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres has been interpreted by Daniela Andrier of Givaudan, and includes peel of lemongrass, lavandin, orange blossom, iris, incense and patchouli. “My scent evokes not this woman, but this picture in its entirety,” said Andrier.

With peppermint, bergamot and essence of rose, Gainsborough’s ‘Conversation in a Park’ was turned into a perfume by Robertet’s Dorothée Piot.

Eleanor Massenet from Symrise chose the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’ for her fragrance, which she says has “a marine and salty side” to reflect the sculpture’s position on a boat’s bow. It features myrrh, bergamot, jasmine essence, magnolia, rose and orange blossom.

Also of Symrise, Annick Ménardo has taken on marble work ‘Nymph with Scorpion’ by Lorenzo Bartolini to present a scent with jasmine, heliotropium and almond. “To simulate the poison of the scorpion, I used bitter almond,” said Ménardo.

‘Joseph the Carpenter’, an oil painting by Georges de La Tour, got the perfume treatment by Sidonie Lancesseur of Robertet, with hints of berries, verbena and cedar.

“I immediately knew what I wanted to reproduce in smell in front of this painting,” said Lancesseur. “I really wanted this perfume to be contrasted as the paint can be, with a warm, amber effect and a more mellow note.”

Maison IFF’s Jean-Christophe Hérault was responsible for interpreting the ‘Venus de Milo’. He has included mandarin, jasmin, amber, and woody notes.

“I imagined Venus as a floral fragrance,” Hérault said. “It is a eulogy of femininity. She represents the goddess of love.”

‘Grande Odalisque’ by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is transformed by Domitille Michalon-Bertier (Maison IFF) to include incense and pink pepper. “Grande Odalisque symbolises all beauty, all aesthetics,” said Michalon-Bertier.

Smell the Grande Odalisque and Joseph the Carpenter

jean honore fragonard louvre

Finally, ‘The Lock’ by Jean-Honoré Fragonard is now a fragrance with lily flower, apple and chestnut, from Maison IFF’s Delphine Lebeau.

“I have a special relationship with the Louvre,” said Touhami. “It’s part of my daily landscape. Everything I see, I see it in smell.”

The Musée du Louvre has also collaborated with HTC Vive Arts on its first virtual reality experience for visitors, called Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass.

Images: Creative Commons

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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