Saturday, October 20, 2012

Museums and monuments!

Good news / bad news /good news. I have photo uploading working on the Nook (though still only from the micro-SD card, not from web albums). Unfortunately, the blogger app is pretty under-powered, so I haven't found a sure way to insert pictures into the text in a way that allows for ongoing narrative; it's also a little unstable so when I first drafted this post, only two of the 25 or so pictures I had planned on putting up actually made it into the saved version. Happily, we have Nico's computer to work with, so il n'y a meme pas de probleme.

Emily was sick our first day in Paris, so I went out with her Aunt Jill to the Louvre. Emily did not spend ALL her time lying in bed, as it turns out - she also set up a lovely surprise for me later in the week - but that's a topic for a separate post.

The walk to the Louvre brought us through a very fancy pants arcade. We didn't have the money to shop, nor even really the interest to window shop, but it kept us out of the rain nicely.

Before entering the main room where you buy your tickets, you can get a pretty good view of some of the enclosed sculpture gardens.

Then you go into the main hall - the one with the glass pyramid Parisians love to hate.

Some random good stuff:

One funny thing about the Louvre is that, having once been a palace, some rooms have themed collections that seem somewhat out of place with the frescoes and ornate gilding on the walls and ceilings. This was the ceiling of a room filled with Mesopotamiam antiquities:

This is the grand hall. I don't know how long it is, but if I had to estimate, I'd say it's somewhere between "hella" and "way too effing." Oh, and look, there's Jill right in the foreground! Hi, Jill!

I'm not going to include the pictures I took of the Mona Lisa. That's just downright trite, even if I did take some to remember I was there. Honestly, this picture, which hangs just opposite her, I found to be much more impressive, but maybe that's just the American in me - it's one of the two biggest paintings hanging in the Louvre. This is "The Wedding Feast at Cana," by Veronese, and it just blows my mind to think about how difficult it must be to keep your lines clean and your lighting realistic when painting such a huge work. The colors are great too, though sadly I couldn't get that very well - no flash photography at the Louvre!

Scene of a Flood, by Girodet de Roussy-Trioson is not about the biblical flood, rather a natural cataclysm. The man is trying in vain to save both the past (in the form of his aged father) and the future (his wife and children). [Rough translation from the plaque next to the painting]

This is the coronation of Josephine as Empress, and is the other of the two biggest paintings in the museum. It is by Louis David, who I think was my favorite artist in this section; he had a lot of great stuff.

For instance:

Next up, Egyptian antiquities! These sculptures are notable to me and my Peace Corps friends for being made out of karite. That's the tree shea butter comes from for the rest of you.

There are all sorts of sculptures and bas-reliefs of scribes in this collection. But as best I could tell, this is the only one of all of them to sport a pedo-stache (Mom, just don't ask what that is. Trust me.). The guy on the right was the only one with fat rolls. I like him.

Giant slate sarcophagus. Wow, I wonder how much it weighs. To the right, the sort of thing that would go inside.

And at the display of what would go inside THAT, a couple children are introduced to the mummy that is about to eat them.

Included for weirdness:

Out in the sculpture garden. This guy is one of four prisoners, each representing a different emotion and country. He's defiance I assume (the plaques don't say).

Pictures are not allowed in the Musee d'Orsay, but that didn't stop Em from taking, or me from posing. WHAT TIME IS IT THIS STUPID WATCH ARGH.

We also saw a few gems just walking around. Which is typical for Paris. Anyway, this statue commemorates what is apparently a famous story here about a man who could walk through walls - up until one day when halfway through, he found he couldn't anymore. We did our best to help him out, but eventually were forced to admit defeat and leave him to his fate.

Last but not least, we saw this on a random house on our walk and knew we had to have a picture of it. Shout out to Katie and Kelsey, whom we can't wait to see in Seattle!

1 comment:

  1. According to the 1950s film on the Louvre that I had to watch both years in my HS French class, at some point one of the kings used the "grand hall" for hunts--he'd have trees and rabbits brought in and then ride horses up and down the hall hunting.