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The Triumph of Art

The Atkinson, Lord Street, The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1DB

Tel: 01704 533 333

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The Triumph of Art


Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Free entry.Free

Free entry, donations welcome.


This exhibition celebrates the restoration of a painting given to The Atkinson in the late 19th century. Due to its poor condition, The Triumph of Art by Nicolas Pierre Loir has not been exhibited in over a century.

The Triumph of Art by Nicolas Pierre Loir was created as an allegory of the arts, a celebration of music, architecture, sculpture, portrait and history painting. The painting looks at the life and times of Jean Baptiste Colbert, a major patron of the arts and a powerful minister who helped Louis XIV rule over France in the 1600s.

An exhibition contextualizing the newly restored painting has been created from The Atkinson’s permanent collection, reflecting the art forms portrayed in The Triumph of Art. Key works on display include sculptures by Elisabeth Frink and Henry Moore, and paintings by LS Lowry and Charles Ginner.

Nicolas-Pierre Loir (1624 – 1679), was a French painter and engraver. Loir benefitted from the support given to French artists by Louis XIV and by his minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. As well as painting for the King and the aristocracy, Loir painted numerous altarpieces and religious paintings. He also designed tapestries at the Gobelins factory in Paris, which was bought and supervised by Colbert. Loir’s work can be found in many of the world’s major galleries from the Louvre to the Hermitage. However, The Triumph of Art is the only major work by Loir in a British collection.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) came from a family of merchant bankers. Despite not belonging to the nobility, by the mid-1660s he became the most powerful of Louis XIV’s ministers. In the 19th century the novelist Alexandre Dumas portrayed him as a ruthless, cold-blooded politician but also as a visionary and patriot. He was known as ‘Le Nord’ because of his chilly demeanour. Colbert played a crucial role in drafting the notorious ‘Code noir’ governing the conditions of slavery in France’s colonies.

Dr Onyeka Nubia has been invited by The Atkinson to comment on The Triumph of Art by Nicolas Pierre Loir and the patron, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and his authorship of the ‘code noir’. Dr Nubia is a pioneering and internationally recognised historian, writer and presenter who is reinventing our perceptions of the Renaissance, British history, Black Studies and intersectionalism. Join us online for a pre-recorded lecture from Dr Nubia, Thursday 15 October, 7pm.

The exhibition is presented with thanks to the Chateau de Sceaux for funding the restoration of the painting and The Art Society Southport for funding a new picture frame.

Online Exhibition
View The Triumph of Art as an online exhibition here.


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COVID-19 Response

  • COVID-19 measures in place

Opening Times

Season (10 Oct 2020 - 12 Dec 2020)
Bank HolidayClosed

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