The building itself the dominating energy, solid strong and simple. In the evening, cool deep dark shadows of the arched walkways tunneling through from the outside of the building opening to the inner courtyard where the lights of the modern glass pyramid steal the show, the sparkling pools of water surrounding it softly reflecting it.
We had a lot of difficulty in getting the French to accept the pyramid. They thought we were trying to import a piece of Egypt until I pointed out that their obelisk was also from Egypt and the Place des Pyramides is around the corner. Then they accepted it. The pyramid at the Louvre, though, is just the tip. – I.M Pei
When you go to the Louvre isn’t it supposed to be normal to have the Mona Lisa in the forefront of your mind? Well to be honest I had heard that she is small and I have never quite understood the fuss anyway. So we arrive early and conscious that the crowd of people steadily growing behind us are probably going to swarm around the Mona Lisa fairly soon, my love grabs my hand and leads me straight upstairs past all the folk holding their Louvre map doing the one display at a time in number order thing.
It took me twenty years to discover painting: twenty years looking at nature, and above all, going to the Louvre.
– Pierre-Auguste Renoir
We arrive at the salon that holds Mona. The space is large and filled with a long snaking roped off cueing arrangement, reminiscent of an airport security cue. And way in the front, a small work is hung. He’s done it again, perfectly timed, there are only a few people gathered in the front row and the belly of the rope snake is empty! We scoot round the outside of the snake and join the others at the front peering at Mona. Yep that’s it, she’s definitely the Mona Lisa. It’s a magical piece of artwork, but I think for me, too well known and familiar to be much of a surprise. Plus I already have one at home..Well kind of….my son painted Mona as an early highschool school project, so for me (sorry Leo) that is the most moving and emotional version I’ll ever experience.
With that done, we are now free to enjoy the rest of the Musee.The place is massive, to see it all would require a three week sleep over, and it’s a maze. We look at the map and try desperately to figure out the way to the highlights. We finally work out where the Rubens room is and oh my what a space. We are again magically one of only a couple of other folk in the space. So so wonderful! There are a couple of art students that are set up with easels, crafting amazing pieces based on the master’s works. I could happily sit all day and watch them paint.
Beautiful voluptuous women are celebrated. Ruben’s brush sweeping around soft full breasts and wide generous hips and bottoms, to me caressing the sensuality of real women. Too much imagery today seems to make the androgynous form the ideal. Oh and where has the bush gone? Once the delight and mystery of the vulva was softly framed by lush generous cushions of curls, now women are desperately trying to preserve their prepubescent form by either being zapped frequently with lasers or having their natural state violently and painfully ripped out by the root with wax. Why? I guess so men can imagine some sort of virginal innocence? I would have thought having a less than innocent, confidently sensual being welcoming you to her bed should be enough for any man to want to investigate and celebrate the mystery of the real bush.
As I move from painting to painting in the Rubens room I am so moved, it is incredible beautiful and emotional work. His skill in capturing the delicate translucence of flesh and the essence of emotion is breathtaking. I leave the space, filled up and confident as a woman, proud of soft sensual breasts and fulsome bush and inspired and challenged as an artist.
The Louvre is overwhelming, it is is vast and the floorplan is confusing. With the combination of the scale of the place and the incredible beauty of the works I soon find myself quite emotional and flustered. For a moment I am lost in a strange sensation of anxiety. I can’t quite figure out if I am spinning or if I am standing still and the Louvre is spinning around me. Breathless for a moment I have to close my eyes and breath deeply.
As I try to regain my equilibrium holding tightly to the stair railing, I realise that the emotional wobble is because my soul is galloping full stretch like it never has before. Long full strides, eyes wide, mouth open sucking in the deep gasps of joy, tongue lolling happily, hair flying behind me as I come screaming in trying to catch up with the life I am supposed to live.
My love captures a fabulous shot when we come across a group of fellows draped in swathes of beautiful orange cloth, admiring a sculpture. The shot is incredible – art and human nature inspiring new art. The Venus de Milo is surrounded by a crowd of people most of whom are not at all interested in the majesty of the work, the delicate translucence of the statue. They are mostly crowded in with backs to her snapping selfies. On one hand I feel sad for the shallow self centred people, but more strongly I feel grateful for the opportunity to be one of the few people in the room who is gazing upon her with deep appreciation and awe.
We decide to call it as enough for a day. I have loved every moment of the Louvre but I am also feeling rather overwhelmed by the scale and the emotional magnitude of it. Trying to take it all in at once feels gluttonous, gorging on the rich delights without taking enough time to really savour it . I just want to live here in a little city apartment so I can come back to the smorgasbord of the Louvre and elegantly nibble my way through it a little at a time.