Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Day in the Musée du Louvre

Louvre: crowds lining up to see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo
photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On the Wednesday, after my A day in the Musee d'Orsay, I spent a day at the Louvre Museum.

I find the Louvre to be a complete maze and I always get lost in it. It's difficult to get to grips with just how big the Louvre really is, how difficult it can be to navigate or how utterly frustrating this can be on occasion!
Passage Richelieu

This time we came in via Passage Richelieu. We started with the Italians in the Denon wing and worked our way across to the Dutch and Northern Europeans in the Richelieu wing. My niece naturally wanted to see some of the very famous works eg Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. You would not believe the crowds - so I photographed them!

After which I stayed longer and did a tour of the Richelieu wing as that was the part I'd not seen a lot of on previous visits. I began to appreciate far more than I ever done before just why the late ninteenth century saw a revolt against the history paintings which had been regarded as "the best painting that there could ever be".

I focused on the still life paintings and built up a collection of photographs which you'll be able to see on Flickr when I get them sorted!

Rembrandt self portraits

One of my habits is to copy Rembrandt self-portraits - working on the principle that if you're going to copy somebody you might as well copy somebody who was rather good at what they did! The challenge is also that I never seem to get his face right - so I just keep trying!

Salle 31 on the 2nd floor of the Richelieu wing of the Louvre has THREE Rembrandt self-portraits hung next to one another. You can see my sketches of two of them on the right. Frankly I think it's another case of needs to try again!
This is a virtual tour of the Rembrandt room on the museum's website.

Lunch at the Café Marly

Ming Pei Pyramid and Pool, The Louvre (from the Café Marly)
pencil and a little coloured pencil in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The only thing to recommend the Café Marly is the view from the terrace where I sat to draw the above sketch. It's located at the base of the Richelieu wing and I had lunch there. The food was OK but very expensive and it had really terrible service. I'd still be sitting there if I hadn't commandeered a waiter to bring me a menu, again to take my order, again to take it make sure it was served etc etc. I thought I might have been there on a bad day but I checked with Trip Advisor review of the Café Marly and found lots of comments from people who summed it up as great view, nice but expensive food and quite appalling service. I've got a lot of time for Trip Advisor as I've found them very reliable as a guide in the past and I thought the range of perspectives offered got it about right. I have however very rarely seen a place which has had quite so many people give it the lowest or a low rating. I know I took great delight in finding the right change to leave the precise amount for my meal and no more. Let's just say this was an experience which left me realising just how much places must pay for a good write up in some guides!

Visiting the Louvre

If you're thinking of visiting the Louvre or would just like to pay a virtual visit try consulting my new information site The Louvre - Resources for Art Lovers

Jardin des Palais Royal

Late afternoon in the Jardin des Palais Royal
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On leaving the Louvre I walked across the Rue de Rivoli to the gardens of the Palais-Royal. Apparently it was originally called the Palais-Cardinal and was the home of Cardinal Richelieu. Which I guess explains why the wing of the Louvre nearest to the palace is called the Richelieu! This link provides an interesting description of the background to the gardens as does this wikiepedia article

I'd started to get into the way people sit around in Paris gardens. The big trick seems to be to get hold of a really armchair like chair, get it right up to the wall around the pool and fountain and then settle down with a good book or have a snooze. Next to the pool was also a good place for couples to have conversations without being overheard due to the noise of the fountains!

I've only just realised that I've done two sketches of people sitting around fountains - but you do see a lot of that in Paris!

I'll be back to insert a link in this post to a post on Making A Mark about the Louvre (when I've got it finished!)

The next post about our French trip will be about our visit to Giverny - and will include links to videos of the gardens.


1 comment:

  1. Katherine - It is so much fun to see what you sketched in the same places I visited. I like your sketch of the outside of the Louvre. I never did get to visit it, and after reading your commentary on both blogs I regret that. Nice sketch of the people near the fountain in the park. I love how they have the moveable chairs in all the parks, so you can get any view you want. I'll be back to see more.


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