The Louvre Posted by Hello
I slept late the day I went to the Louvre. It was raining and so I figured I could enjoy the bed and the drizzle outside. My ankle had not gotten worse, but it hadn't improved either. The thick carpeting in my hotel kept me from realizing how painful walking really was.
I managed to hobble to the metro station and strangely began heading instinctively towards St. Michel. Finally I got into the Louvre and armed with nothing more than a map ( I didn't use anything other than maps in the museums) I began my trek through the Louvre.
I began optimistically enough. My plan was start off looking at French Painting: 14th though 19th century. Then head to the Restoration apartments on the 1st floor, next the 13th through 18th century Italian painters. Then the 5th through 19th century French sculpture. Next Greek antiquities and 16th and 18th century Italian sculpture. Finally down to the "Medieval Louvre."
I managed to get through most of 13th through 19th century french painting before I realized that my schedule would have to be amended. I even wrote down what I liked in each room. It took me two hours to go through some of the second floor of the Louvre. There were three other floors and my ankle was already bothering me. So I decided to just note the names and paintings I liked. Later it would just become the names of artists. Often they were illegible.
I will not bore you with the details of all the works I liked there, but I will say two things. The first is that if you don't speak french, the Louvre is a good way to learn. It's like the biggest picture book ever. Sure that I had some rudimentary French helped, but when I look at a painting called Interior D'Eglise, it helps me remember that eglise is church. Don't bother with too much English translation, just look, you'll figure it out. Second, if you spend all day in the Louvre simply looking at things you will learn a great deal about art. I learned how to recognize a Boucher vs a Fragonard. I learned that Fragonard used dramatic diagonal compositions to heighten the feeling of tension in his paintings. I learned that Pannini is the Cannaletto of interiors. I learned that if you are very crafty you can admire the work and rest your ankle at key intervals in the day.
For the People by the People
Of course, another great attraction of the Louvre is the collection of tourists there. While I was sitting at the Louvre ( downstairs in Italian sculpture after enjoying Canova), I realized the majority of tourists looked like professional photographers. I don't mean they just had little cameras, I mean they had lens and bags and accoutrements.
This situation was particularly surprising at the Mona Lisa. Thanks to the Da Vinci Code ( I won't even bother to link) and pals the Mona Lisa was swamped making it difficult for a little girl like me to get close enough to see it. I did see it, although briefly. What surprised me was the blue of the background. It was a more vibrant turquoise than I expected. But the crowd was taking pictures of the Mona Lisa. As if there aren't enough pictures of the Mona Lisa already. The more obscure works like L'Albane or Truchi I understand, but the Mona freakin' Lisa?
Although the crowd around the Mona Lisa was annoying, it had one benefit. The crowd quickly moved by the Raphaels, Caravaggios, Botticellis ( UDR once said I had the face of Botticelli-he is very wrong-I look more like a Boucher or even more sadly like a Rubens) and the "lesser knows" like Pannini, Reni, Fetti, and Truchi without even a glance.
The other surprising development was tourists asking to have their pictures taken with great works of art. Some of the works I sort of understand. I mean sure the winged victory of samothrace (which is HUGE-it was incredibly massive) or Cupid and Psyche, I can see have a picture taken with those works. A kind of "look I was standing next to this absolutely stunning and sublime work" type of picture. But what struck me was how tourists mainly cared if the work was famous or not. For example a very pretty couple ( both with intense large blue eyes) from Tennessee asked me to take a picture of them with Michelangelo "A Slave Dying." It doesn't exactly say "young couple in love" or "wish you were here."
The Tennessee couple was starved for conversation. They clearly wanted to talk to me, and I couldn't tell if my silence was from habit or if it was simply that I had no desire to talk to these particular people. To ask them why they had come here and how long they were staying and how did they like Paris and had anyone been rude to them. I just didn't have the time or the energy or the will. I was trying to get through the Louvre. In the end sacrificed French sculpture, most of the Greek antiquities, and the medieval Louvre so I wouldn't end up screaming as I walked down the halls. After making it through the Italian painting hall, I went to a cafe inside the Louvre ( hoping a rest might help the situation) and order an "infusion" which actually means tea (which is not what I thought it meant-I was actually hoping for a transfusion of will or maybe opium). But after my break I was still in pain and tired. I went down the bookstore to buy a book, but the selection was scanty or maybe my general fatigue prevented me from being reasonable. I left and headed back to my hotel to rest before I went to the No Stress Cafe for mouthwatering steak bearnaise and red wine.
more to dinner at the no stress cafe...the return of in paris...

Comments: Post a Comment

    This page is powered by 
Blogger. Isn't yours?