Paris, France (3): The Louvre

I feel oddly obligated to finish all these posts about Paris (and London?) before Christmas. I don’t know why.

This post is going to be all about the Louvre so if art doesn’t interest you, er… go read something else. haha

Outside the Louvre.

And inside it.

The first section that we visited was the Italian painting gallery.

The Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo da Vinci. The first painting that I saw and recognised in the Louvre. And I will admit that I felt ridiculously pleased that I could. 8D

The grande dame of the Louvre – and all of classical art, probably – draws a crazy crowd, that’s for sure.

… Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art?

This was interesting. Le Combat de David et Goliath (“The Battle of David and Goliath”…?), by one Daniele da Volterra. It appeared to be a double-sided painting, and looked pretty cool. But the Louvre’s labels are only in French and so beyond the title, the artist and the date, I could figure out nothing else about it. Sigh.

And then I was glad that Jan had convinced me to download and watch the BBC “Power of Art” documentary series, because I’d not have known Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin otherwise.

Another part of the Louvre – the Greek antiquities section, I think. Or classical Greece. Dunno, but Grecian statues anyway.

Really, the building itself is a work of art. Just look at those (Corinthian style?) pillars…

At some point after this we had lunch in the Louvre. And then my parents and Yan went off to shop/return to the hotel and rest whilst I continued my rounds of the Louvre.

More Greek sculptures. Judging by how many Greek and Egyptian artifacts reside in the Louvre and the British Museum alone, it’s no wonder Greece and Egypt are forever screaming for their stuff to be returned…

The Venus de Milo.

I’m not really sure why the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo are so lauded, but I’m not about to go crack my head over the question. haha

The ceilings (in some sections) are amazingly intricate. Click the pics – the one above or the two below – to view larger versions.

Michaelangelo’s Dying Slave.
Doesn’t really look (to me) like the guy’s dying…

Another of Michaelangelo’s Slaves. This one is the Rebellious Slave.

Part of the French painting section in the Louvre.

When I saw this, I was like, Okay, I know this picture. Dunno who painted it, nor what it’s called but I know I’ve seen it before and I know it’s famous…

The label informed me that it is Le Radeau de la Méduse, by Théodore Géricault. Neither title nor artist name rang a bell. haha. And this is where the Internet and Wikipedia come in useful. I just wish I’d been able to access wifi on my phone whilst I was in the Louvre. At least I wouldn’t have been so clueless with regards to so many of the artworks in there. Labels in French are not helpful to non-French speakers.

Also thanks to the “Power of Art” series, I wasn’t as clueless as I might have been in the French painting gallery. That episode on Jacques Louis David definitely helped in terms of recognition and comprehension. This painting has a darn long name: The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons. (Rather melodramatic, tragic and depressing, these classical painters…)

There were lots of groups of schoolchildren all around the Louvre. I wonder what it would be like to be one of those kids, learning about the fine arts at such a young age…
(The painting in the back there is another David piece, The Intervention of the Sabine Women.)

Oh, there were also several groups of Japanese teenagers, who were evidently on some school trip. I’d run into them periodically in my wanderings about the place.

For some reason, I found the Winged Victory of Samothrace particularly captivating.

Headless and armless from the ravages of time, but still there was something about it. Motion frozen in stone…

The crown of the Empress Eugenie.

The apartments of Napoleon III.

Those chandeliers are kinda pretty.

Actually, I dread to think how smoky these rooms must’ve been in those times, with candles burning in the chandeliers, not electric lights.

I like this photo. :P

The French crown jewels.

Another part of the Louvre – much quieter and faaaar less crowded than the Italian and French galleries. This is the “rest of Europe” section. haha Scandinavian, Nordic art. I went through this one really quickly because I wasn’t as familiar with most of those artists and I was quite tired by then. There were some Vermeers, van Eycks and Durers around but I was a bit too tired by then to really search for them. My feet were starting to nag me. I’d been in the Louvre since 11-ish in the morning and by the time I got to this section (in the Pavilion Richelieu), I think it was well after 3pm.

Took a peek at this section – more sculptures – before leaving. I couldn’t be bothered to walk around it, after having gone round at least 70% of the Louvre already. My neck hurt a little too. Too much staring up at statues and paintings I guess. heh

There were lots of people sitting around that area, drawing the statues. I kinda wish I had time to watch them sketch…

I think it’s true that if you don’t have interest or knowledge/awareness, then you’d be hard-pressed to appreciate art. (I was going to say “enjoy art” but that’s not the right word. I know of Picasso, but I don’t fancy his stuff one bit. I knew nothing of the Winged Victory of Samothrace before this, but I liked it and found it intriguing when I saw it.) I could hang around the Italian and French painting galleries and the Grecian sculptures longer because I knew more about those, but I was bored much more rapidly in the decorative arts gallery because I didn’t have as much interest in those things and I didn’t know as much. I probably have several things to thank for my knowing anything at all – most recently, Janice for inducing me to watch “The Power of Art,” and probably primarily, my mother for buying those booklet thingies on great artists for me to read when I was… I dunno. Ten? Twelve? Can’t imagine how else I could’ve known about Rembrandt and Michaelangelo and so on to begin with. I sure didn’t learn about them in school nor in uni (a little surprising, but then MMU didn’t have such a strong emphasis on art appreciation).


4 thoughts to “Paris, France (3): The Louvre”

  1. Did you take any close up with the greek sculptures? I did take some close ups when they brought the exhibits to Singapore and it is fun sketching them though I wished I have taken more.

    Lourve… the next place to go if I have the money to go there. Haha.

  2. Nope, I didn’t. Didn’t have time to take a lot of close-ups la. I was attempting to see the major works and cover most of the Louvre in a day… that really doesn’t give me time to be taking a lot of detail shots.

    And what, they brought the stuff to Singapore??

    1. LOL, that’s actually kind of true… Especially the statues. But I still have a higher appreciation for this sort of “old” art than some of the more abstract modern stuff. ahaha

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