We thought the Uffizi Gallery in Florence was big, but then we visited the Louvre in Paris! In addition to paintings and sculptures, the Louvre also displays historical objects and archeological finds. It contains more than 380 000 objects and 35,000 works of art. Assuming that I’ve done my math correctly, if a person spent one minute looking at each item on display, it would take 24 hours a day for more than nine months to see everything! We were there for five hours. Clearly it was necessary to plan ahead and choose the things we most wanted to see.
Of course, we had to see the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, but so did everyone else in the Louvre that day! We literally had to fight our way through the crowd of selfie takers to get a glimpse. It was impossible to get a good photo, but you probably already know what it looks like. Like many others, I really wonder what all the fuss is about. There were certainly paintings that I liked better.
Of all the paintings that we saw, the one that impressed me the most didn’t appear on any of the “must see” in the Louvre lists that I saw.
At first glance, I saw an old man snoozing while a rooster crowed in the background, but then I read the description. I was looking at The Penitent Saint Peter, or The Tears of Saint Peter, painted in the 1620s by Flemish artist, Gerard Seghers, and based on the scriptural account of Peter denying Christ three times before the rooster crowed. I like the simplicity of it, but also the detail. Look at the way Seghers captured the softness of an old man’s hair. And then there are those hands!
The Venus de Milo is considered one of history’s most significant sculptures. Again, I’m not really sure why.
My favourite sculpture was the highly acclaimed Winged Victory of Samothrace which was created in ancient Greece in about the second century BC. The flowing drapery conveys a sense of motion as the goddess, Nike, descends onto the prow of a ship in honour of a sea battle won.
I also liked the Sleeping Faun carved by Edme Bouchardon in the 1700s.
This is just a tiny sampling of what we saw in the Louvre on Monday, but it must also be said that the building itself, a former royal palace, is a work of art.
My neck is getting stiff from craning to see all the amazing ceilings in the various churches, galleries, and museums we’ve been visiting!
After ensuring that we’d seen everything on my “must see” list, we strolled the length of the Avenue de l’Opera from the Louvre to the Palais Garnier stopping along the way to sip a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe.
Oh yes, we are definitely enjoying Paris!