Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Another Paris post: There is stuff to see, isn't there?

Why yes, there is...and though we spent a fair bit of time in galleries/historic buildings/places with dead people, there is a lot we didn't see, but that just gives me another reason (other than cheese that is) to go back. It's a bit surreal for me to see things that I spent so many years studying and writing papers on and doing seminars about (and so many subsequent years slowly losing the details of ...sigh!). It's such a pleasure, but part of me is so frustrated that it couldn't have happened years ago when all that there book-learnin' was still locked securely in my brain.

I should also mention we had museum passes - expensive unless you are seeing a lot, BUT it means you can skip past the line ups in most cases, which is priceless.

Perhaps stupidly obvious, the thing that shocked me the most was the Louvre. I'm not a complete idiot - I knew it was big - but nothing could have prepared me for the scale of it. We spent about 7 hours walking through what I would guess is maybe 1/3 of the galleries - mainly the Egyptian section, and the 16th/17th C Netherlandish and Italian wings. The highlight for me was the Rubens room, which contains the unbelievable Marie de' Medici cycle. Unreal. UNREAL. The photo of Mum in the gallery is not my best effort, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the scale of it. I *heart* Rubens (and many other 17C Dutch/Netherlandish painters, admittedly) and I could have sat in there most of the day and been happy as a clam.

Realistically, the Louvre is probably a three day endeavor. The idea that they offer a one and a half hour tour of "the highlights" makes me shake my head. Highlights? The whole freaking place is a highlight. Maybe it's just the art snob in me that found the crowds around the Mona Lisa a bit pathetic. Sure, it is a master work, but there are hundreds of other true masterpieces in that gallery that are not surrounded by 100 photo snapping tourists quickly proving they have "seen it" before rushing off to snap the next thing.

I should also give a shout out to the Louvre's outstanding collection of mummified kitties. Gives me ideas for my two.

We also went to the nearby MuseƩ de l'Orangerie, best known for two rooms of Monet's Waterlilies. Rubens could still take Monet in an artistic cage-match in my opinion (OK, full disclosure, though I appreciate their importance, I'm not a big lover of the Impressionists), but it was pretty impressive.

OK, running out of steam now. More later (hopefully) - maybe something about dead people, who knows?

1 comment:

Seraphina said...

Oooh, mummified kitties!! And posted on the official Internent Cat-Free Day no less! I'm sure that was deliberate. You rebel, you.