Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The LOOOOOOOvre, Part 1

Today it's all about the artwork 'cause on our second day in Paris, we went to the Louvre.   Fair warning:  there are pictures of paintings and statues featuring women in deshabillee, but it's art, not just nudity.  Hey, it's my first advisory notice for a blog post!  Won't be the last, I know there's at least one more batch of Paris pictures which will get an advisory notice.  Anyway, we took the Metro over there and when we walked up the stairs we saw this:

I think this was on a building that faces the Louvre, but it might be part of the museum itself, I can't remember.  However big you think the Louvre is, it's *bigger* than that.  Seriously huge.  On the boat ride the day previous, the recorded tour guide dude said that if you spent just 1 minute looking at each piece of artwork in the Louvre, it would take you over 4 months to get through it all.  Without sleeping or travel time between artwork.  And having been there, I can totally believe that statement.

So anyway there's a sign for the museum just 'cause I thought it was cool.

Speaking of cool, I lurve the art deco-style Metro signs.  Not all of them are cool like this, but quite a few are.  Some of the other ones are just giant yellow Ms which made me think McDonald's, not Metro.

And here's the famous pyramid over the underground reception area.  And Lee!

One side of the building surrounding the pyramid courtyard.

This is a smaller triumphal arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built to celebrate Napoleon's victories in 1805 according to my oh-so-handy guide book.  And now I have the sudden urge to watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

You know how I like statues.  This is Louis XIV I think.

We didn't get our act together in time to buy Louvre tickets online before we left (all the sites seem to be the type that they send you a hard copy ticket, you can't just print out your own e-ticket) so we got tickets from the concierge at the hotel.  Yes, it cost us 5 euro more per ticket (they're 10 euro at the museum) *but* we got to skip the really, really, really long line to get in.  I think we went in a priority/handicapped entrance and no one said anything about it, so we just strolled in and had our tickets scanned to go into the Denon Wing, easy peasy.  Of course we decided to look for the Mona Lisa first, but on the way we spotted another of my Top 3 Things to See at the Louvre:

The Winged Victory of Samothrace.  So.  Cool.

So the Louvre was a palace for a number of centuries before it became one of the world's most preeminent art museums, and even the ceilings were decorated to within an inch of their lives.  Metaphorically speaking, of course, because ceilings are generally not alive.  Unless they have mold growing on them, which I'm pretty sure these didn't.

View down the gallery; it's longer than you think and this is just ONE wing of it.  (Did I mention this place is seriously huge?)  We were following signs to the Mona Lisa and still missed the turn to see her so we had to backtrack a bit, but then we found her.

That's about as close as I got.  All our pictures of her turned out a little blurry, what with the giant crowds and the rules against flash photography (which people ignored willy-nilly, but I adhered to) but you know what she looks like.  She's probably smiling because she thinks it's amusing how many people squish in to look at her.  You know everyone says she's smaller than you'd expect?  Id heard that so many times I'd just about made up my mind that she was postcard-sized, so she didn't seem extra small to me.  I knew she had to be fairly portable since da Vinci carted her around with him when he traveled, but still, not as tiny as you might think.  In case you're wondering what else she has to look at when the museum is empty, it's this:

This is the largest painting in the Louvre, and it's set on the wall opposite Ms. Lisa.  I wonder if Waldo is in there anywhere.

This painting is in the same room as Ms. Lisa and Where's Waldo; it's Aphrodite and her son Eros (I like his wings).  I liked this one till Lee asked me if Eros was like stabbing the doves or something.  I don't think so, since those are Aphrodite's sacred birds, but they do a lot of violence in Greek myth so who knows.

That gives you an idea what it's like walking towards the Winged Victory.  After we saw the Mona Lisa, we decided to give most of the paintings a pass and go look at the Ancient Greek and Roman statuary 'cause I like that stuff.  Plus we saw paintings on our way to Ms. Lisa...we didn't see da Vinci's other works though, maybe I'll look for those if we go again.

This one looked *just like* the guy who played Poseidon in Clash of the Titans!  The original one, not the crappy remake.  Can't believe it got a sequel.

Hey, it's me and Ms. Wings!  So we went down the stairs to another long gallery with the Greek statuary in it and saw this on a chair:

I like him.  He's cool.

There's Lee checking out the details on the carving.  More statue photos in my next post, as soon as Mom leaves me a comment so I know she saw this ; )  TTFN, peeps!


Alexis said...

I could not believe how big it was when we were there, huge! Way more to see than you can fathom, lol.

CCsMom said...

I love the lighting on the side of the face of "Poseidon". Super picture! And of course, I'd LOVE to be there to see all of that -- you know how I like to periodically go to the Kimbell here in Fort Worth. We are so lucky to have a great museum here close. Just fascinating! And Lee -- I am proud of him. He really makes sure you get to see all you want to see. Did you take pictures while you were down in the catacombs? (Spelling?!)

CCsMom said...

Oh, that last picture -- didn't you think the "feet" on the bottom of that piece were funny?

Giffysk8s said...

I like statues, too. I'm guessing you went to the Vatican and saw the statues there. They are quite impressive even though most of them are damaged. And I'm hoping you saw the Sistene Chapel. It's breathtaking! It actually moved me to tears.

I'm so glad you've posted these photos in case I don't get to see all of this stuff when I'm there. I can always come back here to fill in the gaps.

And I agree with your mama. Lee is super sweet. :)

Thoughts by B and M said...

I read something recently about the Mona Lisa and how it was missing/stolen from France in the (20s? maybe)? And how they found it - did the exhibit mention any of that? I found it truly interesting!