The Portrait of Esther Practical information


In 2013, the Museums of the City of Angers initiated a project, the aim of which was to showcase seven artworks—housed at the Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Angers (Fine Arts Museum)—that had been stolen from Jewish families during the Second World War.

The Virgin, Saint John the Baptist and an Angel adoring the Christ Child
Botticelli (?) Florence, 2nd half of the 15th century (?) Tempera on wood 70 x 52 cm Musées d’Angers
MNR 252

If the majority of the 60,000 artworks pillaged by the Nazis during the war were recovered and returned to their rightful owners by the Allies in 1945, close to 2,000 artworks were entrusted to the care of the Museums of France and categorized with the MNR label: Musées Nationaux Récupération (National Museums Restitution). Seven of these artworks were entrusted to the Musée des Beaux-arts d’Angers awaiting their return to their rightful owners or heirs.

While the issue of artworks spoliated during the War concerns all citizens, it has become the domain of art historians. The aim of this digital project was to take history outside the confines of the museum to a younger audience. A hybrid between the comic and the historical novel, The Portrait of Esther targets readers aged 15-18 years in a bid to help them discover this little-known part of our history. Using the attractive format of the digital graphic novel, our aim was to raise awareness amongst younger generations about the scale of the destruction of human life and heritage by the Nazis.

Throughout this project, the Museums of the City of Angers have done their utmost to ensure that the project would correspond with the creative and ergonomic criteria of their target audience. For this, a panel of 32 students was chosen to review the work in progress, made up of participants from three local schools.

CMSCOMICS A CMS tool for comic creators, produced by Atelier Mosquito

CMSCOMICS is a tool designed to create digital publications such as comic books or Turbo Media (a cross between comics and cartoons). It is designed for cartoonists, authors, publishers, and users of media and educational websites. CMSCOMICS was used to create The Portrait of Esther, an educational comic strip series designed for a teenage audience.

The tool developed in PHP and HTML5, uses SPIP as the core software, an open source CMS that is relatively common. It benefits from an increased range of functions allowing it to construct a story in the form of a digital comic. The user creates chapters, each of which can contain an infinite number of panels. Each panel consists of endless other panels, all of which can be individually animated and synchronized. The totality of the content is broadcast via a website in a fully responsive interface, specifically designed for optimal playback on a PC, as well as a Smartphone or tablet.

Eventually CMSCOMICS will be able to automatically generate digital albums created via applications distributed and sold on download platforms such as App Store or Google Play.

CMSCOMICS contact: Emmanuel Rouillier