Friday, June 14, 2013

A Bridge Between Human And Divine

Tomb of Duke Charles le Vieuville and his wife Marie Bouhier - Gilles Guérin (1611–1678)

We didn't have as much time as we had hoped at the Louvre, and that was partly my fault due to a misreading of a GPS instruction that had us driving in circles (triangles, actually) through narrow one-way Rouen streets before we finally got to the train station. Partly due to the fact that it was pouring rain and we were hungry, so stopped for lunch before going to the museum. Partly because we hadn't bought tickets and so had to stand in line for those. And partly because two of the wings we wanted to go into had been closed off due to a visiting dignitary, or at least that's what the security officials said when I asked. Still, four hours stuffed my mind and camera full and I am not sure I would have made it through many more exhibits. We were moving fairly quickly, trying to see as much as possible, though there were times when we lingered at particularly beautiful things. Due to the wing we started in and the direction we were heading, that ended up being mostly statuary at first.

Detail from a bas-relief featuring Louis XIV by Desjardins (1637-1694);
"Cleopatra" by Claude Bertin (?-1705)

"The Infant Jesus" by Ligier Richier (1500?-1567); detail from "Saint Anne Educating the Virgin Mary" by Jean de Chartres (1465?-1515)

"The Dying Slave" by Michelangelo (1475-1564); "Portrait of a Venetian Lord" by Alessandro Vittoria (1525-1608); "Veiled Woman" by Antonio Corradini (1668-1752)

How do you turn marble into gauze? How do you chip stone so carefully it becomes an intricate lace ruff? How do you make hardness portray softness, and coax emotion out of rock? Though Mom would say that even rocks have emotions. I wanted to take the Corradini home with me.

Sometimes the sculptures weren't as interesting as the plinths they were on, which were also frequently carved in intricate and often bizarre patterns. This, I believe, is a rock lobster.

I don't know if I'll have the time to go back to the Louvre soon, but next time I will make sure to get my ticket in advance, and to check the museum website to see what wings are closed for renovation (but only on Thursday [except they can't specify the details]).


  1. You lucky stiff.

    Wouldn't you be afraid that if they let you take the Corradini home with you, and you had it on your bedside table or whatever, it might start to seem less special?

  2. Only if I figured out how the marble-into-gauze trick worked. Otherwise it would remain an eternal mystery and a marvelous joy to look at every day.