First, it must be said that the Louvre is massive. The building, that is. It takes up an entire block, in the way an NFL linebacker would take up the isle in an airplane. The sandstone-colored building is four stories of activity, with ballroom height windows on almost every floor and carvings and curly-cues and copper roofing and statuary filling every blank spot. There are fountains and flags and circular windows and everything that one would put on a royal palace, which is what this was back in the day. Napoleon had the good sense to turn it into a museum, because it was too much of a dump to inhabit. He, of course, had something a bit more lux in mind that he had whipped up just outside of Paris.
But I digress.
The Louvre as an art institution makes the Guggenheim in New York look like crumbs at the bottom of a bag of chips compared with Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a three-sided beheamouth filled with art. 350,000 objects to be exact, which means that in the ancient Egyptian area, they don’t have one enormous stone lion-faced thing, they have 9 all in a row. Or part of a tomb reassembled. Like the part you walk into.
We loved it. All 2.5 hours of it, which was all we had time for. This means we could come back, oh, something like 6 more times and perhaps see it all. We took in some Greek sculpture, Italian paintings, Egyptian artwork and statuary, Iranian objects d’art, Messopotamean art, the original gigantic medieval stonework of the castle in the basement of the building, and the I.M. Pei glass pyramid out front.
Traveling in January, while frigid, is tourist free. We didn’t have to wait in line to go through security, buy tickets, or see the Mona Lisa. She sits, encased in a glass enclosure, in yet another enormous room. Apparently some nut job decided a few years back to take a knife to her, so now she is uber protected. For a moment there I was a bit snarky, wondering why exactly this rather small portrait, down a hall of probably 200 other portraits, in a building with probably 1,000s of portraits, is known as perhaps the greatest painting in the world. Those thoughts passed, though, because Da Vinci gave this girl such an amazing expression that compared to the other either dead-fish looking portraits or truly strange portraits out there (at least in this museum) she jumps off the canvas.
You don’t believe me about odd portraits? You think the Louvre is the highest calling of beautiful artwork in the world? Feast your eyes on this lovely morsels.
We enjoyed some tasteful knife-in-the-head portraits that were hung just before the popular severed-head motif. Self mutilation was on display, as was one particularly troublesome painting that could be the basis of the next Saw movie. Can someone please explain to me what this freakishly strange looking woman (or it is man) without arms … who is naked … is doing being led into a river by … her demented-looking friend?
And I used to think that tv and movies are violent …