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Published: July 21st 2012
When I turn to Louvre, Giverny and Fontainebleau, I wish I were a good writer because these places require mastery of style and a rich vocabulary. What’s the use of writing about Louvre if one is not an art specialist or does not have an artistic mind? The description of any piece of art (sculpture, painting, fresco etc) is superfluous because one must see them for himself, because art is visual. Needless to say that photos of masterpieces are also quite irrelevant unless made in high quality and large format, but even that does not make them closer to the reality.
Our guided tour of Louvre was scheduled at 10.15 in the morning and the guide spoke much (audio devices with headphones were provided to facilitate hearing, because crowds are roaming the museum) about Louvre history.
The Three Graces (one could not say which of them was each) are womanly and look alive, as most of the ancient statues do. There are different sculptures – of the Hermaphrodites, gods, and the Boy with the Goose which is a bold deviation from the canon. The myths came alive in stone before our own eyes.
The two unforgettable women at Louvre are Venus of Milo and Winged Victory. The first one is the ideal of beauty (I may venture to say, of all times), but the second one is perhaps the ideal of a winner woman, able to do anything, standing bold and upright, ready to fly, and bring victory. I’d rather consider it a symbol of a spiritual or another kind of victory, though initially, certainly, it was meant to be a designation of victory in war.
The genius of Leonardo da Vinci needs no introduction and probably Mona Lisa is the most popular portrait in the whole world. It attracts huge crowds of people staring at her while she simply looks at you from all points and smiles her secret smile.
Canovas’ Amour and Psyche attracted my immediate attention and I also marked it as one of my favourites, the same as Michelangelo’s Slaves.
We had a brief rest on a bench and decided to visit the occidental art sector, Luda being most interested in Egyptian antiques. On the way there we had a glimpse of Greek and Etruscan antiques. It is genuinely
memorable to observe the beginnings of civilization. Those people really lived, but so long ago. I’d give much to stay in the ancient world for a day or two. Maybe in future they’ll organize time trips to Old Egypt… I am a philologist by profession, that’s why I scream with joy seeing the cuneiform writing or the hieroglyphs. That’s no simple alphabet! Some day I will read literature on these. Please read R. Kipling’s funny stories How the First Letter was Written and How the Alphabet was Made. They’ll make you really think about the origin of language and generally leave rather a profound impression.
This day we again returned to Hotel de Ville to watch tennis semifinals, Roger Federer (Federer was amazing to win Wimbledon, though I’m not a tennis lover, but I give praise where praise is due) versus Djokovitch. This time I spared myself the nervousness of watching and instead went to Galignani book shop (I’d return to Paris simply to that shop!) and bought three books by P.G. Wodehouse in hard cover. Books in paperback are not a good invention, I think. The choice of books is very good (in the English language),
and I could spend there a month’s salary at once.
After the match we went to Boulevard St. Germain to have dinner at some oriental café, then took the bus to Gare du Nord (I missed the stop at Gare de l’Est where we were to change buses so we had to return to the latter Gare to take bus to Jules Joffrin).
In the evening, we consumed alcoholic beverages in the street on a bench.
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