May 13th, 2007

Paris room with view

Botticelli Angels and a Mona Lisa Smile

So guess where I went today?

It was raining this morning when I got up, so I declared it a museum day. Also my Museum Pass needed using some more. So off I headed to the Louvre.

Wonderful things... no, that's King Tut. But you get the idea!

And I went to the Musee D'Orsay this afternoon as well, so I've had a day steeped in art. No photos. I left my camera at home to resist the temptation to take crap pictures of the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory. People were taking pictures all over the place despite clear signs saying it was forbidden. I found myself wishing for a Monty Python style foot to come down and squish them, or some kind of alarm that would go off and make them look stupid and conspicuous.

Of all I saw, I have to admit that La Giaconda was not the thing that impressed me the most. Of Da Vinci's work, I much prefer the Virgin of the Rocks (having, of course, seen version two of this already at the National Gallery, years ago) and the Virgin and St. Ann one. Like Miss Brodie (in the movie at least) I love Giotto, and was struck by how super-hero like St Francis of Assisi looked receiving his stigmata. I adore Botticelli, so his work was a highlight for me. There was a painting I loved, from the studio of Brassano, of the animals filing onto Noah's Ark; there were at least 4, if not 6 dogs, which pleased me no end (why they got such a disproportionate representation, I don't know, but I'm not complaining). They were doing delightfully doggy things - one was sniffing a chicken, and one looked as if it was sniffing a cat's bum. And I also loved Jan Breugel's "Earthly Paradise" with more wonderful detailed animals, including a lovely elephant, a tiger, placing a delicate paw on the lion's back, and some jewel-like flowers.

Ready for lunch, I crossed the river and had a beautiful omelette with mushrooms, and a salad, at a cafe while watching the people go by. It started to absolutely pour with rain, but I was snug under the umbrella even though sitting outside.

So then I headed along to the Musee D'Orsay, and gazed my fill at Impressionists. Again, wonderful. It was nice to see some that I'd never seen before, even in books, like a Monet depicting a snowfall. And there's something about the energy of seeing these things in real life - being able to see the brush strokes and the real colours and the size of things. I was struck by the Vermeer - the Lace Maker - in the Louvre, at how small it was. And then other things are huge, like David's painting of Napoleon being crowned. There was also a fabulous exhibit at the Orsay of photography, including two shots of Stanley Park!

I couldn't possibly see everything, so I chose judiciously and saw whom and what I wanted. I may consider returning to the Louvre - and wouldn't mind returning to the Musee D'Orsay as I was already tired when I got there and may not have done it full justice. But I've had seven uses of my Museum Pass, and at an average of 7 euros per entry have now more than paid for it. And there's still tomorrow! I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do tomorrow - let's see what the day brings :)