A love of art and history brings new museum director to Columbus (Columbus and the Valley Magazine, May-June 2015)

By Jim Lynn

Marianne Richter, age 7, stood in a large, second-floor gallery at the Louvre and stared. Before her was a series of 24 paintings depicting the late 16th and early 17th Century life of Marie de Medici, the wife of King Henry IV of France. The Louvre was a must-see stop on a month-long family trip to Europe, and others had moved on. Marianne and her mother stayed behind.

It wasn’t the Mona Lisa that captured Marianne’s imagination, or the iconic Venus de Milo. Instead, the youngster was spellbound by the panels full of colorful, allegorical images by Peter Paul Rubens. They seemed to Marianne “like a storybook fairy tale,” dwarfing her in their size, their Baroque figures curved and draped in flowing fabric as if caught in mid movement.

The half hour with the paintings given the regal title of “The Apotheosis of Henri IV and the Proclamation of the Regency of Marie de Médicis” set Marianne on a path of fascination both with art and with history.

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