Thursday, August 25, 2016

Selfie With Mona And Other ParisMuseum Highlights

We had comfortable weather last week in Paris, but now that we're back it's hot. My computer says it's 38 C (100 F) now at 7:30 pm.  We decided the best place to be was inside the air conditioned museums.  So we got museum passes and we're using them.

We began the day at the Rodin museum and garden.  I haven't taken Rodin as seriously as I should have.  I'm guessing that the thinker is so well known it's become a cliche.  But it was really stunning. But you've seen it so I'll show another picture from the Burghers of Calais.

The garden was still a comfy temperature when it opened at 10am and it had a nice little restaurant.

Wandered the sculpture garden enjoying the garden as well as the sculptures scattered in amongst the trees and flowers.  There was one white hydrangea  still in bloom.

From there we walked to the Orsay.

The Impressionists are the big draw here and there up on the top.  But the post-Impressionists were much more exciting for me.  There were lots of people there, but it wasn't horrible.

I was also taken by an exhibit on an artist I hadn't heard of.  Not pictures were allowed in that exhibit so I'm just showing you the poster.

His works cover a wide variety of styles and his life was fascinating.

From Musee Orsay:
"To date, France has never devoted a solo exhibition to Charles Gleyre. Yet he was a major figure in academy painting in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. For a long time, given the smooth perfection of his facture and his subject matter, mostly taken from mythology, he was taken for a cold, conventional esthete blind to the revolutions of his time. However, research into the history of art draws attention to the important role played by his studio, which gave us artists like Jean-Léon Gérôme que Claude Monet and Fréderic Bazille. Also, fresh interpretations of his work, including first and foremost the psychoanalytical analysis published by Michel Thevoz in 1980, have uncovered the fascinating contradictions of both the artist and his work. Placed under the sign of spleen and the ideal, the exhibition is an opportunity, through the major loan from the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne, to delight once more in the illusions of academicism."

Here's something on Gleyre's life and another piece on his teaching methods.  And here's a review of the exhibit with one of his most famous pictures.

The Orangeries and Louvre, both on the museum pass, were just across the Seine from the Orsay, so . . .

There are two rooms like this one with Monet water lilies. They were painted especially for these rooms and took 12 years.  There is something about seeing art that is so glorified that takes away some of the power for me.  I couldn't help wondering how many people in these rooms would think these were great pieces of art if they weren't displayed this way and if they had never heard of Monet before got to the museum.

But there were other works that I did find sticking.  One particularly, because this artist really hadn't
registered in my brain before.  Chaim Soutine.   From The Art Story:
"As an expatriate Russian Jew living within Paris, with few friends beyond fellow artist Amedeo Modigliani, Soutine interpreted common themes with the eye of an outsider, further enhancing his unique perspective regarding his human subjects, landscapes, and still lifes and lending them a particular vanitas and poignancy. A prototypical wild artist, Soutine's temper and depression are both well documented and were poured into the paint he layered on the canvas. Soutine's body of work transcends the movements that dominated the avant-garde during his lifetime, expressing a clear personal and artistic vision that both looks back at historic themes as well as toward future modernist styles."

This was supposed to be a brief post so I could take a nap before we go out to dinner.  And this  has only a few of the 150 pictures I took.  So let's get this done.  Last stop was the Louvre.  There probably is no good way to visit the Louvre.  We figured this was a scouting foray, just to get ourselves oriented and we only spent about 90 minutes there.  They have lots of Greeks.

And signs direct you to Venus de Milo  and the Mona Lisa,  Neither were as mobbed as i had been led to expect.  Here's the crowd with Mona, including the woman taking the selfie.

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