Coming Out of Left Field

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Paris experience: day 1

Our real first day in Paris was spent at the Louvre. Although the rest of the tourist population was probably there too, it didn't feel as crowded as I expected. Naturally there were clumps of people at the star attractions, but the museum is so big and has so much that folks tend to spread themselves around.

An acquaintance who teaches art history had told us that there were a couple of special things about the Mona Lisa:

-- it was the first portrait that tried to have a relationship with the viewer
-- it tried to portray the soul of a person, not just the appearance

On his advice, when we found the Mona Lisa we didn't take any pictures, we just stood there for a while and gazed at it, then walked around (not very far, thanks to the crowd) and looked at it from different angles. Forget the "Da Vinci Code." How did Leonardo figure out how to get her eyes to follow you? That's what I want to figure out.

We also saw Winged Victory and Venus De Milo (in our jet-lagged state, we mixed them up until we realized that the one has no head but arms, and vice versa), a lot of the Louvre's Egyptian collections, and some of the Northern Renaissance paintings like Rembrandt's Bathsheba.

That night we again had dinner at the Colibri, sitting inside this time, where we were joined by a pigeon that strutted around as if it owned the place. For all I know, maybe it did!

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