Friday, October 08, 2010

Holiday Musings - Part 2

After finally downloading my holiday photos into the computer, it's been a little difficult deciding what to write about first.

In the end, the magnificent Louvre won the toss.

This entry isn't meant to provide exhaustive information. As you can see, I've left out the paintings ( yes, I have a shot of the Mona Lisa ), and won't be naming every single sculpture featured here.

Rather, I'm sharing my impressions, and hope these pictures will whet your appetite should you be fortunate enough to visit this museum in the future ( or if you've already been to the Louvre but bypassed the sculpture galleries, perhaps these will prompt you to hunt them down next time ).

I could not include all the photos I took, of course, so these are the highlights.

As mentioned in an earlier entry, the Met in NYC was breath-taking, but the Louvre's setup is literally jaw-dropping.

The fact that the building used to be a royal palace certainly makes a huge difference. But the layout of the many pieces is key to one's enjoyment.

Witness the vast spaces and natural lighting. Lots of staircases to navigate, with lots of benches where one can sit and stare for as long as necessary.

Interesting to note that staff numbers are almost negligible in these areas. You can probably touch the statues to your heart's content - I didn't though - whereas attempting to do so at the Met will get you a harsh reprimand ( yes, I brushed a finger over a marble lion and a guy came out of nowhere to tell me to stop. Hmph! )

It never fails to amaze me, how an artist can fashion such beautiful forms from hard rock. Surely sculpting is much tougher than flicking a paintbrush over a canvas?

Having walked through the Met's gallery at length, I also notice a different theme at the Louvre, primarily the predominance of the human form, with animals providing a more secondary presence.

I just love the melodramatic flair, from cherubs weeping in a kneeling position...

... to young women stabbing themselves in the chest.

There're also quite a few male figures posing erotically. Here's one good example ( miniature-sized ). I've got a photo of another that's much larger and bordering on obscene, but chose not to post it here.
However, if you're my Facebook friend, it's in the photo album. :)

I've read about visitors molesting sculptures in museums. Picked up on the security cameras. Now I understand why!

Another characteristic I enjoy about sculptures: they're 3-dimensional.

While most people prefer to view them from the front, I make it a point to walk a complete round, looking at the piece from every possible angle.
Impossible to do so with every single one, but a definite must for the more beautiful statues.

Even our guide brought the entire group behind the Venus de Milo, just so we could admire her curvaceous back.
Another famous sculpture you absoutely MUST see from a 360-degree perspective: Michelangelo's David in Florence. It's awesome!

It was a lovely day indeed. The place was crowded but not stifling.

Made a short pit-stop on the way back to our hotel. Spent time sitting at this fountain in the Tuileries Gardens, facing the Place de la Concorde's obelisk, with the gorgeous Arc de Triomphe in the distance.

Lots of tourists and a few locals doing the same, as pigeons scurried beneath our chairs and seagulls flew in from the Seine to take a break.
One of the best days ever. :)
Am of course very saddened by recent news that France is high on the terrorists' hit list. While my mom and I are extremely lucky to have escaped potential danger, we hope nothing tragic will befall Paris and its locals.

In other news...
Am currently glued to a biography of Jeffrey Dahmer, by Brian Masters.
The book's been sitting on my shelf for a while. I tend to buy novels and ignore them in favour of borrowing others from the public library.
Had to start reading this to clear some space, and can't believe how terrific it is.
Will post a few choice quotes next time round.
I've known about Dahmer since my college days, when his crimes made global headlines. I had some inkling about his twisted rituals, and learned more about them through various documentaries on cable TV.
But Masters provides the reader with a truly in-depth analysis of Dahmer's actions, which are not fuelled by cruelty or sadism ( no matter how perverse and horrific they may be ). In fact, once you understand what motivates his bloody deeds, you actually start to pity him.
Don't think anyone's made a movie about Dahmer yet. Maybe someone should.

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