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Friday at the Louvre

A very grey, cloudy day in downtown Paris – good day for a major dose of art at the Louvre. Click to enlarge.

View of the courtyard and famous triangle from inside.

The indoor sculpture garden seen from inside.

 Hard to see, but there’s a woman dressed all in white as a sculpture with a group of schoolchildren, showing them how the movement of the sculpture works.

The Louvre’s two Vermeers, all alone. So humble, so magnificent – private and solitary, dignified and silent. Made me, of course, cry. This time I saw the piece of crumpled paper on the scholar’s desk, the glint of his fingernail, the delicacy of the lacemaker’s wrist. Concentration and stillness – and weird hair. That’s my beloved Vermeer.

I always like the paintings of people reading and writing. This is Erasmus by Holbein (and in shadow on the glass, another writer.)

Art aficionados.

And these.

Rembrandt and the people he painted look at us with infinite depth and sadness. I think of him as a fellow autobiographer – he painted his own face over and over, and through his face we see mankind. As we memoir writers try to capture ourselves, and what it is to be alive, with words.

A miscellaneous staircase.

Poor gorgeous naked Venus, surrounded. An American girl beside me said, “She’s not very feminine. Look at her waistline!” Always with the critics.

 A miscellaneous ceiling.

The Mona Lisa.

French children learning about French painting. 
I lasted three hours, actually took a break, sat down and had a coffee and some quiche, which is a first.  And I only cried twice – at Vermeer, as always, and happening upon Leonardo’s stunning Saint Anne with her daughter the Virgin and babies. From room to room, encountering friends – Botticelli, Fra Lippo Lippi, Bernini, Michaelangelo, and all the unknown artists, the millions who’ve created magnificence through the ages. Truly makes you proud to be a human being, at least for a while.

I asked directions of an employee at one point, and after pointing me the right way, the woman complimented me on my blue silk scarf, bought at the Marché d’Aligre the other day. It’s such a deep, rich colour, ca vous va a perfection, she said – it suits you perfectly. I thanked her. That means a lot, I said, coming from someone who spends their days in the Louvre.

When I could take no more, I escaped, as thousands were pouring in – NEVER go to the Louvre in the afternoon – and there was the #27 bus, just around the corner, waiting to take me and my aching feet home. Tomorrow is my last day. On Sunday, on to hideous little old Rome.



3 Responses to “Friday at the Louvre”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love reading about your travels, my friend. Really love it. Safe trip. xoJason

  2. theresa says:

    Lovely tour of the Louvre. Thank you! (The Vermeers are wonderful.)

  3. beth says:

    Thank you, Jason and Theresa. Happy to have you on board. It's as if I see things twice – once when I'm there, and once more when I try to recreate it all for you. Onward!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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