Paris Adventure: Day Three Part Two- The Louvre

So last we left off: Two bone-soaked Americans on a metro returning from Versailles by the songs of French accordianists.

We arrived at Rue de Rivoli and spent several minutes walking up and down the street looking for the entrance to the Virgin mobile store where we were supposed to pick up our Louvre tickets. (Turns out it’s underground…who knew?) Stopped for some bangin’ lasagna and coffee to recharge (more on the food in a later post!) and headed to that gem of a museum: the Louvre!

Here’s the inverted pyramid that the Da Vinci Code alleges is the Holy Grail:

By the time we had finally found our tickets, we only had 2.5 hours until the Louvre closed-not at all enough time to fully appreciate any one wing, but we had to make do with the time we had and decided to prioritize.

Here’s what we chose to see:

Denon Wing: Spanish paintings, Italian paintings, Italian sculptures, Greek/Etruscan/Roman Antiquities

Richelieu Wing: French sculptures, French paintings

With the lack of time, we had to skip the Sully wing completely, which was a disappointment. But just another reason to return to Paris, eh? 🙂

In a word, the Louvre was incredible! It was amazing to be able to see so many of the sculptures and paintings that I had studied in Art History! I was completely in awe of being in the presence of such inspiring works of art. What creative genius!

Fortunately, the Louvre is really relaxed about its photography policy; we could take photos of nearly everything! So here are a few of our favorites!

*Disclaimer: I tried to be really good about taking pictures of the plaques that went with each sculpture/painting so that I would know the name of the piece and the artist. When I looked back, though, a lot are hard to read…if anyone (ahem, Lauren 🙂 ) recognizes the pieces and would like to comment on their origins, we would greatly appreciate it!

Sculptures:

The first thing to greet us here at the entrance to the Denon Wing was Nike: This is an incredible piece of work called Winged Victory

Here she is up close:

My absolute favorite sculpture is Psyche and Cupid. It’s so sensual and evocative and beautiful:

And then there’s Michelangelo’s Slave. This piece makes me so uncomfortable because the slave cannot break out of the block of marble; there is so much anguish and struggle visible in the sculpture. I think Michelangelo succeeded in capturing the essence of eternal bondage:

And here are a few that I can’t read the plaques for but that we really enjoyed:

This one seemed to actually be a handle; there were two of these snuggly-looking heads at either end of the plinth of a sculpture. Fancy, huh?:


Look at the details of her lace! This is done in marble!:

And there is a replica of this at Maymont in Richmond!

Paintings:

The size of some of the paintings was absolutely incredible! It is so amazing that the artists could create such massive works and to such perfect proportion! I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to complete some of these pieces:

The one above features Joan of Arc, I believe.

And this is The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David. We really enjoyed his painting style:

And here is the ever-famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. She’s kept behind glass and you can’t get very close to her. (Side note, I giggled as I added this photo to the post because the example that WordPress gives for a photo title is ‘Mona Lisa’ and I actually was titling this photo ‘Mona Lisa’. It’s the small things.) :

And here is Madonna of the Rocks by Da Vinci which was, of course, made famous recently in the Da Vinci Code:

Beautiful, right?

How incredible are these works? We were completely overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the museum and all its treasures. We highly recommend going if you get the chance…and make sure you have more than a couple of hours to enjoy it!

After our Louvre adventure, we relaxed with a bottle of vin at a little cafe. It was so fun to people watch in Paris. And we really loved the open-air sidewalk cafes everywhere. Such a great way to enjoy a summer evening!

So what was your favorite sculpture or painting? Any that we didn’t mention?

PSST- I came up with a really fun idea for a project while at the Louvre! I’ll post details on that soon, but it involves a super-chic dressing room and some photos that we took…

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