Today we ventured forth to the Louvre despite threatening skies. Jean felt up to it, so we caught the #76 bus in front of our apartment and rode to the Louvre-Pont Neuf stop. When we entered the Louvre courtyard at 11:00 AM we discovered a long line stretching across one courtyard and into the next and took our place at the end. After a 30 minute wait while we took pictures of posers, fountains, and the building, we entered the Louvre with several thousands of other people.
Once upon a time The Louvre was organized for artists, as evidenced by a couple of paintings of artists in the Grand Hall patiently making copies with a few scattered people viewing the collection. No more. There is not an artist in sight. All one sees are mobs of tourists, many in large groupts, aiming cell phones and small digital cameras at arm’s length toward paintings that the guide told them were important and, therefore, they should take a photo. Okay, I’m being a bit sarcastic and melodramatic, but it’s a madhouse and not very friendly to artists who might want to contamplate a painting for a while. (Musee d’Orsay has banned photography explicitly because the new “camera” make people bonk each other in the face.) As you may guess I don’t do well in crowds, although I did learn in kindergarten how to play with others, so I don’t embarass myself in such a place. We asked at information for pastels and were directed to three halls. Two of those halls held special exhibits of religious prints from the 13th and 14th centuries and no pastels. The third had four pastels and the rest were closed off from view. After an obligatory stop to see Mona Lisa, we wandered to the 2nd floor (third to Americans) to the 19th century rooms, hoping to find something of interest and we did.
Two discoveries today were Emile Deroy, a very young painter who only has few paintings of record online, and Pierre Henri de Valenciennes. The one Deroy painting of a young girl is exquisite. If he hadn’t died in his mid-20’s this man would have done some great works. Valenciennes painted well constructed and pleasing landscapes that were a good lesson for me. His works online are of broader scope and I don’t like some of those as well as the simple landscapes. However, here is a painter who understands the basics of getting a landscape down on paper.
We ended the day with a stop at Sennelier Art Supplies, the Mecca for pastelists like Jean. I will let her share her thoughts and pictures of that experience. All in all a good day. It began to rain as we waited for the bus to bring us back to rue de Charonne. Salad, bread, and cheese for dinner and we’re settled for the evening.