Friday, July 17, 2009

Musée d’Orsay, part 3 of 13ish

The Eldest looking at the sculptures of the women from every continent.

Me on one of the walkways; there are a lot of stairs to get to the upper rooms, which are located around the sides of the building leaving the center open.

The railroad clock; you can't sense the scale from this picture but it's giganto!

Some of the elaborate architectural detailing. This isn't one of the exhibits, it's part of the ceiling!

The nymph sculpture; I think she's charming.

There were a couple of rooms with home furnishings. (You can see me in the mirror; mostly The Eldest said "move, you're in the picture", but she got me inadvertently this time!)

Musée d’Orsay, Tuesday, May 12:

This was one of our favorite museums; it's so much more manageable than the Louvre since it's much smaller and I like the art from the time periods it covers. When we biked by the outside of the d’Orsay our tour guide told us the d’Orsay picks up where the Louvre leaves off chronologically. When we got there we found that the art starts outside the museum with the native women sculptures, one from each continent. (Pictured above) Inside, we saw a ton of impressionist works including a self portrait by Van Gogh. (I was disappointed that Starry Night wasn’t there since it was on tour; I found out later that it was an earlier version of Starry Night and not the famous one from 1889. I would have liked to have seen it anyway.) We also saw Whistler’s Mother which surprised me because of its size; it’s huge! I really liked it though; I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time studying it but the colors were so crisp, even though he mainly used blacks, grays, and white, and there was such richness and detail, even in the curtains. The museum itself is a converted railway station that was built back in the day when these kinds of things were treated like luxuries. They left many of the railway station trappings such as the large clock, and although there aren’t any train tracks, you can see where they were by the alley like depression that runs through the middle of the bottom floor, which is now full of sculptures. The rooms off to the sides of the main display area, presumably where the rich folks waited for their trains, are full of elaborate architectural detail. This was no government issue, standardized boring train station; this place was ELEGANT. (And still is.)

One of the more unexpected exhibits was the scale model of the Opera District. It’s designed to be viewed from the top and is placed down in a well in the floor with Plexiglas over the top of it so you can walk over it, and it’s huge! It takes up a very large space. There’s also a cross section of the opera house as well that’s fascinating in its intricacy; I was enchanted. I was also enchanted, as so many have been before me, by the Degas sculpture Little Dancer, Age 14 they have on display. She is so small and lovely; I was happy to find a pink T-shirt with her image on it to send home to The Middle Child. I also liked the sculpture of a young girl or nymph pulling her hair back as if she just rose up out of the water; she has such an impish look on her face. (Pictured) I remember so many of the works at this museum; while I enjoyed and appreciated the older works at the National Gallery and the Louvre, for some reason I responded more to the art work from the time period covered at the d’Orsay.

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