Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tail End of the Louvre

By this time I was really, really tired, but I was determined to at least see what the Napoleon apartments looked like and what kind of medieval collection they had. It turned out they had some fabulous medieval pieces.

This Mary Magdalene was quite beautiful.

She also had an interesting backside in which her hair covered the nakedness of her body.

This was a very large complex carving from the late middle ages.

Unfortunately this piece is very hard to read, but was also beautiful executed.

Here is a closer look (still not too clear, but at least you can get a better idea of the piece.)

Lovely Gothic carved madonnas.

To get to the next set of medieval rooms you had to go through this sculpture gallery. There were tiers of stairs and sculptures set all along the way.

There is something so joyous about these particular gothic figures. (perhaps they are even representatives of the king and queen whose tomb is below.

The men tend to have alien at their feet to show their bravery and the women a dog that speaks to loyalty.

This is the tomb of Philippe Pot, the governor of Burgundy.

This was on elf my favorite pieces a memento mori piece, in which the skeleton (or Death) has clearly lost his instrument for mowing down the living, wither a scythe or perhaps he just held a staff.

This lady, Jeanne de Bourgogne, is being gnawed by worms and seems to have pestilent boils. She was an important woman leader who left money in her will to found the Université de Bourgogne.  She was actually imprisoned for showing solidarity (perhaps) to her two sisters by saying she knew nothing about the adultery of her two sisters. Her husband believed and supported her. She may have died of the plague (which seems logical given the stomach of the statue.

Here is the close up of her chest.

The gilt altar pieces don't come across as nicely in photos, but I still couldn't resist attempting to capture some of them photographically.

These furnished rooms were called the Napoleon apartments. This was for Napoleon III, not the famous General, his uncle. Napoleon III was the first elected President of France (elected by the people). He was exiled in London and came back after the 1848 revolution.

The red made them seem very regal and plush.

This dining salon was particularly impressive with its gigantic clock at the end of the room.

Napoleon III did well with the conservatives and was opposed politically by Ledru-Rollin (ironically my Hotel the Jules Cesar, is on La Rue Ledru-Rollin.)

I also briefly visited the rooms for Northern European art to see some Dutch masterpieces.

I have no idea who this is, but I found her dress very pretty.

It was fun to see work by Pieter De Hooch. I can remember his work being hung up on our peg board by my Mom when we had our training as children (Every week she would put up a different masterpiece, so we could learn about famous art.)

The museum has a couple of Vermeers including the Astrologer below. Some people think this may be Anton van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope and father of Microbiology (How do I know this? This was the famous scientist I got to represent in school and do a report on - My poor Mom she was always having to make very complicated costumes for me (Could I get the black robes of Galileo? No, I had to have knickers and lace collars and sleeves!! Poor Mom!)

and even more impressive "The Lacemaker" from around 1669.  They think maybe he used a camera obscure to do the painting as the foreground is out of focus, thus rendering a sense of depth unusual for paintings at that time.

For some reason I think the one below might be also be De Hooch (but it could also be Steen).

These still lives were quite prominent with their symbolic wilting flowers and often bugs and decay to remind everyone that we  have our prime, but that death is around the corner. This one is by Abraham Mignon, whose father apprenticed him as a painter at the age of 7 in 1647. I guess he was actually born in Frankfurt Germany but moved to Holland in 1660 and his painting teacher followed him to Utrecht, because Mignon was so good.

This one is by jan Steen.

The louvre has quite an attractive collection of Rembrandt. I think the most fetching one is this painting of Hendrikje von Stoffels.

Here you can see a whole wall of Rembrandt paintings.

They include self portraits and also the famous flayed ox carcass.

Here is another picture I photographed because I liked the dress. (I'm such a shallow aesthete!)

These are most probably Van Eyck paintings below.

Another pretty dress!

I was getting pretty exhausted by this point, but the Floor plan promised a room of Swiss, German and Russian pictures. I just had to take a look.  It was actually pretty disappointing. As far as I could tell they had exactly two German paintings, an inferior  Caspar David Friedrich painting  and of all people a small work by Carl Spitzweg.

I guess I'm a snob, but I can't really take Spitzweg seriously. (Of course he intentionally did humorous stuff, but…)


So that was it. I could take no more. I had been artified and uncultured and now I had to leave. The exit turned out to be quite fascinating.  There was a whole mall of expensive consumerism out there by the egress. I was shocked for example to see a Starbucks. Paris really needs a cheesy American coffee shop! (NOT!!) Evidently there had been all kinds of controversy about the inclusion of a McDonalds (which somehow I managed to miss seeing altogether.)

So I exited by the pyramid and then headed off for home weary and completely brain dead but full of satisfying memories of art.

Of course "full" is a metaphor and I still had to eat dinner. It was already around 8PM, so I headed to the Grocer to pick up something sot satisfy the body. Here were my groceries for day three.

Those macaroons turned out to be too sweet and deadly, but  the rest was very satisfying and made for a lovely picnic in my room.

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