the louvre (and a boat cruise)

I think it’s about time I finish posting about Paris. I’ve been home for almost a month and I have only blogged about the first week of the trip. It’s just that each day was so packed with stuff that it felt like three. Which is awesome when you’re vacationing, but a little more overwhelming when you’re trying to blog it. Anyway, let’s just put this entry in context… After we went to the opera and then relaxed in the Tuileries, we visited the Louvre. And barely scratched the surface of what it contains. In fact, I learned during the boat tour that if you were going to spend 1 minute in front of each work of art it would take you something like 6 months or 3 years or some fact that I thought I would remember but I don’t. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before you even enter the Louvre, there’s the exterior of it. And the walk to it on what Cristen renamed the Rue de Ravioli.

It was nice to see a familiar face in the sculpture of Joan of Arc. There is a replica of this sculpture in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Then we walked under the passage into the courtyard of the Louvre.

One thing I learned while hanging out near the pyramid at the Louvre is that a lot of people want their photo taken as though they were pinching the top of the pyramid. There were lines of people waiting to do it.

We did it all wrong and just took a picture near the pyramid.

Now I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t follow suit and get my own pinching photo. Next time, I guess. I do love the Louvre. It’s just such a beautiful museum.

Not to mention, full of beautiful art.

I absolutely adore the delicate embrace in Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Canova and the way their eyes are gazing at each other.

Nymph 2 by Bartolini

I have always loved the Nike of Samothrace. I’m amazed at power and energy carved from stone. But I remember when I saw the Nike during my first trip to Paris and I was stunned at the approach. She stands at the top of stairs, almost perched as though she was about to take flight. Even though I was expecting it, I was still stunned again.

I am also still amazed at the size of paintings. When I studied these in Art History, they were just small images in books. Seeing them in scale changed the way I thought of them.

We spent a lot of time in those Art History classes talking about Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii.

I could speak at length about its composition and lines and the Neoclassical theme, but looking at it this time, I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the mother and children hidden in the shadows.

I love the tender way the mother has her hand on her son’s cheek and how he, in return, touches hers. It’s as though she isn’t only recognizing the possible loss by sending grown men into battle, but the potential for this son to also grow up and become a soldier.

And it’s hard not to be impressed by David’s Les Sabines (I can never think of the Sabine women without getting that song from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in my head), but seeing it in person allows you to focus on those details.

Once again, I noticed the women and children. Here, the older woman is rending her garment in sorrow and despair.

And the children mimic the fighting they see, implying that war is passed on through generations.

Here’s just a pretty one – Helen and Paris (again by Jacques-Louis David).

I love the simplicity of this portrait of Madame de Verninac. The gold sash is so pretty against the grey background.

And I really want this sofa/daybed.

Madame Recamier by Jacques-Louis David

I didn’t just admire works by Jacques-Louis David, though. I also really love portraits of the Riviere family by Ingres.

Did you know that Ingres didn’t want to be a portrait painter? He really just painted portraits to earn money, but he wanted to be an academic, history painter. I find it so sad, in a way, because his portraits are absolutely amazing.

But yeah, his other work isn’t too bad either.

Here’s Napoleon crossing the Alps. Doesn’t he look so sad? And if Napoleon looks sad, his horse looks downright depressed. It’s a good thing they’re in the Alps, not the Swamp of Despair.

Of course, no visit to the Louvre is complete without seeing the Mona Lisa.

Actually, I accidentally stumbled upon the Mona Lisa. Or more accurately, noticed the huge crowd around the painting and realized where I was. Like I said, I barely scratched the surface at the Louvre. Wouldn’t it be lovely to return to the Louvre as many times as you would like? Then you wouldn’t feel so much pressure to try and see everything all at once. I kept running across delightful little nooks that I wanted to explore more. And luckily I avoided pickpockets and knew not to ride the escalator inappropriately because of some helpful signs.

Later that evening, we returned to the Eiffel Tower to pick up one of the River Seine cruises. I had the information for one of the cruise lines written down, but we just ended up getting on one that was about to disembark.

It was really quite lovely, even if it was kind of freezing. But it was hard to get good photos of the beautiful sights because a) the light was pretty tricky and b) this guy was standing in everyone’s way the entire time. Even when the rules clearly stated that you weren’t supposed to stand during the cruise.

Thanks a lot, guy. Oh well… at least it let me just relax and enjoy the experience rather than worry too much about trying to get good photos.

2 comments

  1. Amanda · November 5, 2012

    Katie you changed your bog look? I looooved this post. That pic of you is the cutest, and I love what you were wearing:) Also the pic of the rules was hilar! And the paintings are enormous! I can’t believe that. The Eiffel tower again was magnifico! That’s Italian for something:) Love you ! Keep ’em coming.

  2. Kylie · November 6, 2012

    Seriously amazing shots! For some reasons few were missing on my phone but I love the one of you and Cristen! And the sculpture ones too!

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