Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Magic of Art

Yesterday we went to the Musee d'Orsay. It was our first art museum visit so far. (The previous day we went to several cathedrals.) The Musee d'Orsay is full of every kind of art: sculptures, paintings, decorative arts, architecture, etc., but we were there for the paintings. (And, since the restaurant has these beautiful paintings for their decor, you can imagine what the actual art was like.)

At home, whenever I get calendars, I usually look for one with paintings, and usually by one of the Impressionists. We also have a couple of framed posters of paintings by Van Gough and Monet. But nothing beats the original. D'Orsay has quite a collection of Impressionists, and the first thing that struck me was the size of the works. How did they paint on such a scale? These are scenes so vibrant and real, you feel like you could just walk into them, whether interiors or landscapes.

There's also a subtle aura emanating from an original that gets lost in the print. Don't get me wrong: I love the posters and prints that we have. But seeing the actual texture of the painting, the brushstrokes on the canvas, and realizing how the painter worked on a piece for weeks and months to get it right, lends a dimension to one's appreciation. Something almost mystical is communicated.

Today we are going to the Louvre. We passed by it on the walk home from d'Orsay last evening, and the enormity of the building is staggering to behold. I know we'll never make it through everything today, but I'm looking forward to whatever we can manage to see.

Meanwhile, one day I'm hoping to have time to talk about the bookshops and bakeries and markets that abound on every street, crowded in among the cafes and restaurants. Until then, Art calls....

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