I have returned home from travels.
I am trying to eat all the chocolate I brought back from the UK in a single sitting, accompanied by only one cup of tea, which is clearly insufficient for the task.
Along the way I visited Paris.
It was inspiring to see challenging art and impressive architecture, though I will admit to museum fatigue – greatness is magnificent, too much greatness crammed onto one wall and competing with each other while heads, hats, bodies and entire caravans of people float in and out of view does get rather tiring. Trying to view the Mona Lisa while worrying about pickpockets (I was told to worry about them by large signs) and watching others take the moment not to look at her, but to turn their backs and be photographed in front of the painting was, well, a tad disappointing. I understand the urge to do the touristy thing, I really do. Honest.
Anyway, it is a far more enjoyable experience to walk around the corner and stand largely undisturbed and feast your eyes upon La Belle Ferronniere. Up close and with no hubbub at all. She is, to my eye, a worthy rival to her more famous sister – wish I could have that view and time with Mona, but alas. (I imagined her with the Mona Lisa’s lush background, and profitably diverted myself with musings upon the possibility that the black surround obscured some abandoned fantastical landscape!) I was then greeted by the shaggy haired and playful John the Baptist emerging from rich shadow to show us the way. I learn now these are only ‘generally accepted’ as being by Leonardo, my perfunctory viewing of the signage (I was too busy looking at the paintings) in the Louvre gave me the impression they were his and only his, ah well.
My favourite place to view art in Paris was the Orangerie. Though Rodin’s garden ran it pretty close. The visual palate cleanse of the white room before the water lilies is a winner. There should be more of them in all art museums, in my humble. Sometimes your brain needs a break. I’m not going to get overly lyrical about the experience – just go there if you can and see what Monet saw. I loved the contrast between upstairs and down (both of which held real moments of pleasure and enlightenment for me), and after some busy-ness of walls downstairs it was a delight to go back into the Nympheas and become calm once more.
These and many more rays of brilliance left me fair inspired to come home and get back to work – my art may not be so high, but it is still mine to create! Onward!