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Kendall Jenner is let loose in the Louvre

28 June 2024

Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world, takes a rakish look at art and museum stories.

On Thursday, Kendall Jenner posted a set of holiday snaps on Instagram captioned ‘The Louvre at midnight’. This triggered a flurry of critical comments and articles online. Why? Because of her decision to enjoy its storied halls sans shoes. Others objected to a flaunting of wealth they deemed crass from the world’s highest-paid model – an out-of-hours private tour of the museum’s permanent collections starts at €10,000.

Rakewell finds it difficult to care much – if at all – about the footloose model’s decision to go shoeless. When the Louvre has lately offered yoga, cardio, disco and dancehall-inspired workout classes, it’s hard to argue that Jenner has defiled some sense of sanctity. Are people really wearing chic chaussures while doing Downward Dog? Rakewell doubts it.

Kendall Jenner taking in the Mona Lisa (1503) by Leonardo da Vinci at the Musée du Louvre, Paris. © Kendall Jenner/Instagram

More interesting to this scholar of the Jenner-Kardashian clan are the artworks that tickled Kendall’s fancy. Most are obligatory: the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss and the Salle des Cariatides. (Once a hall at the heart of the royal court used by Henry IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV, it now hosts those jazzy-sounding exercise classes. La seule constante, c’est le changement, as the saying goes.) Was she perhaps merely matching the fashion choices of Venus, Cupid, Psyche and the whole cast of caryatids? The only shod figures in Kendall’s post are those in The Wedding Feast at Cana (1562–63) by Paolo Veronese, at which she gazes with apparently rapt attention.

Perhaps there’s a reason the Italian mannerist resonates with Kendall. The most notorious episode in Veronese’s career was his clash with the Tribunal of the Venetian Holy Inquisition over a certain irreverence in his Last Supper (1573). Alongside Jesus and his disciples are also ‘buffoons, drunken Germans, dwarfs, and other such absurdities’, as the minutes of the Inquisition’s sitting have it. They also took issue with a servant with a nosebleed, a jester with a parrot and Saint Peter picking his teeth with a fork. Veronese’s response was that the 13m-long canvas – one of the largest of the 16th century – had a lot of space to fill. When ordered to make the painting more befitting of the solemnity of its subject, and to do it on his own dime, he simply changed its name to the slightly-less-holy Feast in the House of Levi.

Kendall Jenner and The Wedding Feast at Cana (1562–63; detail) by Paolo Veronese at the Musée du Louvre, Paris. © Kendall Jenner/Instagram

Of course, the Jenners are no strangers to changing names. Kylie Jenner renamed her son Aire Webster three months after he was born (original name Wolf Jacques – we know which name Rakewell prefers) while elder sister Kim Kardashian rechristened her ‘shapewear’ company Skims after the original name, Kimono, was deemed to be culturally insensitive. Walking around the house barefoot might look like an act of being down to earth but clearly, in this family, it’s a sign that you know how to make the brand pay.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.