Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Louvre

There is no way to explain how overwhelming (in the best possible way) the Louvre is.  Built at the beginning of the 12th century as a fortress, it was turned into a palace in 1364.  Dudes like Charles V, Francois I and Henry IV all put their spin on things by trying to make the palace bigger and more opulent until in 1672 Sun King Louis XIV said "F this place, I'm moving to Versailles."  I think that might have been the first suburb in history (not really).

Lucky for us, the Louvre was declared a national museum in 1791 and doors opened to the public in 1793.  Some of the most famous works of art call this place home.

This amazing glass "Pyramide" was erected over the new entrance in 1989 and though controversial, it was amazing to walk through.

This is to commemorate the amount of STAIRS we climbed all over Paris.  

Allow me to break it down.  The Louvre has three wings, each wing has four floors (or a lower ground floor, ground floor, first & second floor if you want to be technical).  There are over 6,000 paintings alone and that doesn't include exhibits or sculptures like this guy.  In a nutshell, there is A LOT to see.  Do you know how bad I wanted to nestle into his paws and rest a while?  

We decided to take the quick approach--seeing the big works of art and then each time we go back to Paris seeing a little bit more.  There is NO way you could see it all in one day, one week ... MAYBE one YEAR, if you went every day, all day.  Though I couldn't say for sure.   BUT!  If anyone would like to foot the bill for me, I'm happy to research that for you.  I loved the Louvre and all of its size, history, crowds and Starbucks in the basement glory.  But mostly because they protect and share things like this.

Meet Venus de Milo, circa 120 B.C (ish).  She's beautiful, carved from marble and found in Greece during the 19th century.  

But this little dude was one of my favorites.  He hails from 2,500 B.C. (ish).  Over 4,000 years old.  Over.  FOUR THOUSAND.  Years.  Old.  And I kind of like that they didn't cover up his moobs.  And that he was secure enough to wear blue eyeliner LONG before Debbie Gibson did it in the 80's.  Accepting your body is important peeps.  Let history and SSG teach you these things.  

Not only does the Louvre have multiple wings and floors and ART, it has about 3 million stairs.  All of which we climbed.  But you almost don't care because you turn the corner and get smacked in the face with things like this.

And Napoleon's crown.

I wonder if I'm in that guy's picture across from me.  I hope I smiled.

And just when you think that's the prettiest thing you've ever seen, you walk up another 100,000 stairs and you get to see THIS.

Say hello to the Winged Victory of Samothrace.  The original Nike to the ancient Greeks was carved in 305 B.C. by those talented peeps to commemorate the victory of Demetrius Poliorcetes over the Turks.  Do you KNOW who Demetrius Poliorcetes is?  Me either.  But I do know the current Nike is headquartered just outside of Portland and even though the campus is pretty, I'd say this lady has it beat.  Sorry Mr. Knight!

But the big rush was to check out this place.  The wing of Italian Painters.  And there is one particular painting in here that has been through A LOT.  First of all, it used to hang in Napoleon's bedroom and I'm guessing it saw MANY, MANY things that it probably didn't need to see.  Then once it had a safe haven in the Louvre, it was stolen and finally discovered in some Motel 6 equivalent in Florence.  And THEN some crazy person threw acid on her in 1956.  Do you know of whom I speak?

That's right!  Here she is.  Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo DaVinci in 1503.  Unfortunately you can't get as close to her as you used to be able to.  And you have to kind of push your way past a bunch of people only to have to jump up over more peoples heads to try and take a clear shot.  But she is pretty amazing ... the most famous painting in the world.

I wonder what she thinks of all of us ...

A Snippet from SSG's Diary that evening:

Oh.  Mah.  LAWD.  STAIRS.  Lots of STAIRS.  And climbing of STAIRS. 

Snapshot of Coco:

New Deep (John Mayer)
Time (Chantal Kreviuzak)
All the Stars (EastMoutainSouth)
Sleeping in Your Hand (Elisa)
Satellite (Dave Matthews Band)


Natika said...

These are VERY cool pic's!
I have never been so close to the "Real Thing" before. Thank you!

Lys said...

ZOMG! Now, a little known factoid - I love love love anything Egyptian/Grecian/Roman art and seeing those pictures made me long for a plane ride and a starbucks as I wander the halls. Now I know I'm going to have to go to the museums in Philly next year.

This journey to Paris through SSG's eyes is quite intriguing.

Anonymous said...

All those stairs! Remember in the way back machine, when things got all tough and stressful? Remember how we used to put on our friend Gwen? "B A N A N A s its bananas" - were you secretly singing this in your head?

I bet Mona is thinking how nice it was to meet you, and that she has been waiting for a while. Like me, she thinks you are the cats meow!

(Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl said...

@ Natika - Thanks so much! And for stopping by and commenting. I'm so glad you like them.

@ Lys - Don't you love the factual commentary about 4,000 year old man boobs? I think I should write a book or something.

@ Wah-dah-tay - The only thing I was singing was a old hymnal for my THIGHS. Mona is the dog's tuxedo, for shizzy.