Visiting The Louvre…

One of the most iconic museums in Paris is the Louvre and since we were in Paris, we decided to pay a visit (in the full expectation that it would be crowded). For those who may not know, the Louvre was originally a royal palace that was eventually converted to an art museum after the French Revolution. Today, the Louvre contains extensive holdings ranging from Ancient Egypt all the way through the 1848. To cut down on having to deal with crowds, we decided to go in the evening on a rainy Friday (they’re open until 9:45 on Fridays). Unfortunately, a lot of other people had the same idea so things were a bit crowded in the more popular areas.

Image result for carrousel du louvre

For what it’s worth, we found that the best way to avoid much of the lines is to enter by way of the Carousel du Louvre, an vast underground shopping mall (it’s actually pretty cool, as malls go) that’s linked to the Paris Metro and has an entrance into the museum- the best part about this is that we were able to avoid not having to wait outside in the rain. Also, it’s highly recommended that you buy a Paris Museum Pass before arriving at the museum (you can buy them at the airport or a number of different outlets).

Image result for paris museum pass

So after quickly moving through the security line, we decided to go towards areas that weren’t that crowded so we soon found ourselves in Coptic section which roughly spans the 4th through 12 Centuries. Here’s a few things that caught our eye starting with some funerary masks from the late Roman Era (2nd-4th Centuries AD):

And an interesting Pagan holdover from late Roman Egypt (c. 300-450 AD), a square of fabric depicting Aphrodite’s marriage to Adonis:

And then we move onto Christianity:

The above illustration is Ethiopian…amazing!

We eventually made our way to the painting galleries and were greeted by some very familiar paintings by some of the biggest names in French painting such as Gericault, Delacroix and David:

Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading The People, 1830

This is probably one of the most iconic French paintings and captures the spirit of Republican France. This is a HUGE picture! We was unable to get a good picture so we borrowed one from Wikipedia. 🙂

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, 1793

And a better version:

Jacques-Louis David, The_Coronation_of_Napoleon, 1805-1807

Here’s a better view:

Antoine-Jean Gros, Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau, 1808

Please excuse the poor pictures, the paintings are HUGE and it was difficult to get decent head-on shots but you get the idea. The thing that really jumped out at us was the sheer scale of most of these paintings- some of these pictures are easily two stories tall. The Louvre is the perfect place for display but the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming with all the people. We were at the Louvre for some three hours and it was time to go- our energy was flagging and there was a face with our name calling. Just to conclude, in no way had we even scratched the surface of their collections- there’s no way one is going to view the Louvre’s collections in a day, let alone three hours so there’s more to see the next time we come to Paris. 🙂

Something From The Musee d’Orsay…

In our recent visit to the Musee d’Orsay, we came across this striking portrait:

Albert Bartholomé, In the Conservatory (Madame Bartholomé), c. 1881

The circumstances behind In the Conservatory by Albert Bartholomé are tragic. Painted in 1881, the artist depicted his wife Prospérie de Fleury (nee Madame Bartholomé) who sadly died in 1887, just six years after this portrait was executed. However, this portrait is also noteworthy in that the cotton day dress that Madame Bartholomé is wearing in the portrait survives to this day. Below are some pictures of the dress:

Day Dress c. 1881 Madame Bartholomé

Here’s a closer view that shows off the details:

Day Dress c. 1881 Madame Bartholomé

Close-Up View

Day Dress c. 1881 Madame Bartholomé

Rear View

This dress definitely reads Mid-Bustle Era with the cuirass bodice and relatively cylindrical profile; there is a train and bustle present but it’s relatively restrained with the train spreading out rather than flowing towards the rear. The combination of colors and the pleating effect are amazing and they are just as striking “live” as well as in the portrait. The bodice is constructed of a white cotton with purple polka dots. On the other hand, the sleeves consists of white cotton with broad purple vertical stripes. The skirt is pleated such that there are white under-folds while purple dominates on the outside- definitely a unique effect. What’s especially nice is that we have both the portrait and the subject’s dress so we can compare them; it’s rare that you get this situation. Unfortunately, the dress was not on display but still, it was nice to be able to at least view the portrait up close and in person. Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to view the dress… 🙂

Back In LA…

After an early flight out of Charles De Gaulle Airport, we finally arrived in LA 10 1/2 ours later and none the worse for wear. In contrast to the 40-some degree rainy weather, LA is clear and 90 degrees- quite a contrast and needless to say, all our winter clothes will go into storage until the next time we head for Europe. It’s good to be home and now begins the process of sorting through all the treasures that we acquired during our week in Paris. Oh, and catch up on the jet lag… 😚

Last Night In Paris

Our hotel’s street, with beautiful architecture, just one block in from the busy Rue de Malesherbes. We’re leaving early this morning (HA it’s 1:20 am here and guess who isn’t sleeping) to fly back to LA. We’re already planning our next trip, but for now I really miss Angus and my own bed. Oh, and by the way, the modern building that you see in the background was once the site of the Countess Greffulhe’s townhouse.


Off To Musée de l’Orangerie

Today we decided to take advantage of the rainy Parisian weather to visit the Musée l’Orangerie in the hopes of getting a close-up view of Claude Monet’s Nymphéas paintings. As we’ve posted before, the Nymphéas paintings depict a series of ponds with water lilies that existed around his house at Giverny. In the two viewing rooms at l’Orangerie, there are eight water lily paintings that surround the viewer, following the oval shape of the walls, each painting depicting water lilies at different times of the day, starting with the morning ending in the evening. The effect is simply incredible. Here’s a picture of one of the two viewing rooms from the official website:

When we arrived, we were happy to see that there weren’t many visitors and in contrast with our last visit in February, we were able to closely view the various paintings unhindered. It was a delight, to be sure.  Here’s just a few pictures that we took there; they’re more pieces since it’s difficult to get complete pictures, especially since the walls curve:

Of course, the colors are the first major draw and they depict the the scenes at different times of the day. The blues and greens are especially striking and have been the source of inspiration for a number of our designs. What was also interesting was that Monet used different brush strokes in his paintings, ranging from broad lines in his morning pictures to dots of paint in some of the afternoon and evening pictures. Also, in some areas, paint was layered on thick to the point where they created their own distinct textures and in others, the paint was layered on thinly. Overall, the effect is amazing and it was nice to be able to closely study the paintings. As for inspiration, there’s more in the future here at Lily Absinthe! 🙂