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Paris Trip – Day 9

Welcome to the ninth day of my trip to Paris! I hope you have enjoyed tagging along with me on the journey so far. Today was another lazy day. I got up, looked outside, and saw that it was pouring rain. So I laid around the pad with a cup of coffee and worked on my blog. The rain was still coming down when the afternoon rolled around, so I decided to brave it and go check out the Musee D’Orsay. Later on in the evening, we went to a local Moroccan themed restaurant for some good eating. Anyway, prepare for more pictures of art, and, of course, more boobies too!

As you have probably noticed by now, Paris has no shortage of museums. In my eleven days here, I won’t even scratch the surface, but I’ll hit most of the big ones. The Musee D’Orsay is known for its collection of impressionist art and neoclassical (18th & 19th century) art. I’m more a fan of the the neoclassical art than the impressionism, but it still left a semi-sour taste in my mouth. I mean, what is neoclassicism but a bunch of artists trying to make new art that looks a lot like really old art? You’ll notice that a lot of my pictures (especially the sculptures) seem right out of ancient Greek and Roman times, but most of them are less than 300 years old. Practically BRAND NEW in art history terms. Anyway, I digress. Here are some pictures of my favorite pieces and some comments about them.

There were a number of interesting sculptures outside the museum. Naturally, I gravitated towards the stately looking collection of “boobie-senators”. My guess is that this is a study of women from different world cultures, who are mostly dressed except for the boobage region. Why are they all topless? Um… because it’s art. Duh. Anyway, I didn’t linger long outside as it was still pouring rain. The second picture is of the interior of the museum just after I got past the ticket booth. The building was originally a train station and it makes quite a fantastic impression when you first step into it. Sculpture outside the museum Interior of the musuem
La jeune Tarentine (1871) - Alexandre Schoenwerk La jeune Tarentine (1871) – Alexandre Schoenwerk
This sculpture grabbed me because the pose was very suggestive. It’s also an excellent study of form. Now sculptures are 3D works that are best appreciated in person. You can’t walk around a picture of it and enjoy it from all angles. I did find something that comes close. During my research for the blog, I stumbled upon a walk-around video of this piece. How cool is that?
Eve après le péché (1874) - Eugène Delaplanche Eve après le péché (1874) – Eugène Delaplanche
The English translation of this sculpture is “Eve after the sin.” Now I was originally quite confused because I thought “péché” meant peach. While the French word for peach is spelled the same, it has different emphasis (it’s “pêche”). I looked at the fruit at the bottom of the sculpture and thought it looked like a peach too. I was thinking to myself, “Is it a peach in the French version of the Bible? How odd…” Anyway, I thought this sculpture was cool because you can really see the dismay in Eve’s face. She’s clearly just done something that she regrets horribly.
Les quatre parties du mond soutenant la sphère - J.B. Carpeaux Les quatre parties du mond soutenant la sphère – J.B. Carpeaux
This sculpture depicts the globe being supported and rotated by four women who represent different cultures (Asia, Europe, America, and Africa). Carpeaux was often criticized because his works were overly dramatic and an offense to “decency”. Yeah, it is a bit over the top, but so is a lot of famous art. I liked it well enough.
Le déjeuner sur l’herbe - Édouard Manet Le déjeuner sur l’herbe – Édouard Manet
“Picnic on the grass” is one of Manet’s most famous works (the other being “Olympia” which is also in this museum). It was “scandalous” when it was first unveiled. It’s one thing to portray naked women, but to do so in the company of fully dressed men seems to suggest a major impropriety. The effect is heightened because the naked woman is staring directly at you.
Portrait de Mlle LL.., dit aussi Jeune fille en veste rouge - James Tissot Portrait de Mlle LL.., dit aussi Jeune fille en veste rouge – James Tissot
I did a double-take when I saw this painting. It is a fine example of realism. The colors and attention to detail is so magnificent that it looks just like a giant photograph. It’s too bad that my own photograph of the artwork doesn’t do it much justice.
Jeunes Grecs faisant battre des coqs - Jean-Léon Gérôme Jeunes Grecs faisant battre des coqs – Jean-Léon Gérôme
Here is another example of my photography not doing the artwork much justice. The human figures are painted in a more classical style while the cocks take on a very realistic style. In other words, the fighting birds appear like a photograph against a classically painted canvas. I also don’t advise having your girlfriend wear nothing but a see-through shawl mere inches away from two feisty roosters engaged in a battle to the death.
Tepidarium - Theodore Chasseriau Tepidarium – Theodore Chasseriau
A Tepidarium is a Roman bathhouse. So basically, this is a 19th century version of Porky’s. Cool huh?
Olympia (1863) - Édouard Manet Olympia (1863) – Édouard Manet
This painting was very nearly destroyed after its initial unveiling because it was so scandalous. Olympia is a prostitute. In the background a servant is presenting a gift of flowers (likely from one of her customers). Olympia is defiantly staring directly at you and takes no shame in her appearance. Her well placed hand doesn’t suggest any level of modesty. Instead, she’s simply letting us know that we’ll have to pay to see that part. Scandalous indeed. The Wikipedia entry on this painting is interesting reading.
Gérôme exécutant les Gladiateurs - Jean-Léon Gérôme Gérôme exécutant les Gladiateurs – Jean-Léon Gérôme
Gérôme was a sculptor as well as a painter. I liked this piece because of the pending violence it suggested. The fallen gladiator is at the mercy of the crowd and clearly about to die.
Aurore (1900) - Denys Puech Aurore (1900) – Denys Puech
What struck me about this was the rendering of wet hair in sculpture. I’d never seen anything like it before.
Cain (1880) - Fernand Cormon Cain (1880) – Fernand Cormon
The full English name of this work is “Cain, No. 21 the Conscience, from The Legend of the Centuries by Victor Hugo.” It is an interpretation of the story of Cain as told by Victor Hugo in “The Legend of the Centuries”. I tried to find the particular passage (#21) in English, but didn’t have much luck (although I didn’t try REALLY hard). Still, the painting is pretty interesting. It made me wonder what the scene was all about.
La Prophetesse Libuse - Karel Masek La Prophetesse Libuse – Karel Masek
I liked this painting because it was so different from everything else I saw in the museum. According to Czech legend, the prophet Libuse founded the city of Prague.
Dinner at a Moroccan Restaurant When I left the museum, it was STILL raining. Oh well, I still managed to make a day of it. I made a mad dash back to the subway and headed “home”. Later in the evening we walked to a little Moroccan themed restaurant in the neighborhood. Moroccan cuisine is one of the more popular ethnic foods in France. I’ve never tried it before, so I was excited to taste something new. It is very hearty fare which consists of a generous helping of couscous and vegetable stew. The main entrées were grilled lamb and chicken which practically fell off the bone. I ate and ate until I was stuffed. They served us WAY more food than we could hope to eat, which brings me to another interesting point. The French frown severely on the idea of the “doggie bag”. When you go out to eat, you consume what you can and leave the rest, which is a shame when I think about how much of that vegetable stew we left. In a way, it makes sense though. The French pride themselves on quality. Reheated food simply isn’t as good and therefore unthinkable.

That’s all for day 9. Tune in for day 10 when I head back to the Louvre. It was another lazy day (I’m detecting a trend here…), but I still managed to snap some pictures of cool art. I hope you’ll come check it out. Until then, au revoir!

2 Responses to “Paris Trip – Day 9”

  1. on 04 Oct 2007 at 9:42 pm Jennifer

    mmm food!

  2. on 05 Oct 2007 at 10:51 am john kennedy

    After a week it gets pretty exhausting doesn’t it? Angel and I were there for 14 days and by day 11, I was like, “please give me some wheels, my feet hurt!”. I’d do it all over again. What was your favorite place? Museum? Food? What will you remember most, and what do you wish you could forget?

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