The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Postcards from Paris (2) - The Louvre

I could not continue this series of postings about Paris without including a piece about that mecca for art lovers from all over the world – The Louvre. It is absolutely huge and the variety of art masterpieces spans thousands of years, from the marble statutes of ancient Greece and Rome to the more contemporary pieces. I am sure that everyone will find a piece which they will call their favourite.
The most famous painting housed at the Louvre is, of course, the Mona Lisa. It is not a very big painting, and it is not even the most awe-inspiring painting in the Louvre, but there is something about Mona Lisa’s smile that has bewitched people of all generations. It is perhaps a bit of an anti-climax to actually see the painting for the first time and since it is always surrounded by crowds, it is not easy to really look closely at the painting and fall under its spell.

Mona Lisa


I would have to say that my favourite painting of them all (well, of the ones I got to see because the place is so huge it would take a week to really see all the paintings and exhibits in detail) was entitled ‘The Reader’ by Renoir. It is a painting of two girls reading a book. They seem to be on the verge between childhood and adolescence and the look of innocence on their faces is quite entrancing.
The Reader


Masterpieces from the ancient world include the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
Venus de Milo


Winged Victory of Samothrace

From the Renaissance I loved Canova’s Cupid and Psyche. I thought that the look on the faces of the two lovers was just sublime. Also housed in the Louvre are The Rebellious Slaves by Michelangelo.
The art exhibited at the Louvre was simply incredible. However, for me, the highlight of the visit was the fact that I was walking in the footsteps of, perhaps, the most famous French king of them all – Louis XIV better known as the the Sun King.
This sumptuous palace was his last home before he moved the court outside Paris to Versailles. It was easy to imagine him walking along the wide corridors, surrounded by his courtiers and ladies, in those high-heeled shoes that were an essential fashion accessory for the noble gentlemen of the 17th century and with a huge curled wig on his head.


The Sun King himself


The Louvre itself is an architectural gem with wide sweeping corridors, majestic staircases and huge rooms with sumptuously painted ceilings.



Its origins date back to the medieval period but countless modifications were carried out from that time until the sixteenth century. In 1988 a modernist glass pyramid was constructed in the central courtyard of the Louvre to house the visitor’s centre.

7 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post! I was an art history major in college so you can imagine what "eye candy" you've provided for me. In all the discussions of the Louvre, you are the first person that I've encountered that discusses the building itself. I didn't know it had such beautiful appointments. Thank you for sharing that!

    Cindy

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  2. I want to go to Paris just for the artwork alone, beautiful!!

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  3. It's that glass pyramid that fascinates me!

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  4. How beautiful! It enriches my mind, and makes me want to travel to Paris...

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  5. Great works, but no Monet!!! Maybe next time we will view all the other 50 art museums that we didn't have time for Lorn. Yes, I could see you dressed up at dinner with good ole' Louis. Couldn't you see Shadi as the Royal Cat with her crown jewels!

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  6. I love the reader! Thanks for sharing this with us, great blog

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