If you missed my first few Paris posts and would like to start from the beginning of our adventure, click the links below:
After the Mona Lisa experience, we left the Italian Art section and headed to the Ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman wing. The thrilling Winged Victory of Samothrace stood at the top of a staircase. I got Josh to pay more attention to her by letting him know he was looking at the “real” Nike (Greek goddess of victory). It was sculpted c. 190 A.D.:
We also viewed the alleged epitome of graceful, feminine beauty, the infamous Venus de Milo. Honestly, I found her a bit too broad-shouldered and masculine to be the “perfect woman.” Although I think Chris may have appreciated her demure silence as opposed to my tendency to, er, vocally express my opinion on matters.
It was cool seeing all the different artists throughout the museum sketching and painting these great works of art.
We wandered for quite a while amongst the sculptures of ancient rulers and mythological characters, while Ashleigh educated us on the finer points she’d learned during school last year.
Eventually though, after so much art appreciation we started getting a little loopy…
Chris found great humor in snapping this shot of Joshua, just a tad bit bored by now.
We ate lunch at a cute, little café near the Louvre, then headed to the Musée Rodin. This museum is actually a mansion, dating from 1731.
Image by: Michael Scaduto
Rodin liked his work to remain intentionally messy—leaving fingerprints along with marks from the tools and rags used to keep the clay moist, because he wanted his sculptures to reflect the artistic process of creation.
The museum is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens filled with some of Rodin’s most famous works. And after spending so much time indoors it was nice to be outside.
We saw Rodin’s original sculpture, The Thinker (c. 1880).
As well as The Three Shades.
Rodin later placed The Thinker and The Three Shades on top of his masterpiece of all masterpieces, The Gates of Hell.
Note the smaller version of The Three Shades standing at the top of the gate? They’re a triple representation of the same figure directing the viewer’s eyes down to The Thinker who sits contemplating the fate of the tormented figures below.
"Abandon every hope, ye who enters here," (taken from the inscription above the Gates of Hell Dante’s Divine Comedy a.k.a. Dante’s Inferno.)
As we stood in front of The Gates of Hell, (no pun intended!) I turned to Josh. “Did you read the packet information on Rodin I included for you?”
“Nope,” he grinned.
“No worries,” I said, unzipping my purse and once again whipping out the extra copy I’d printed. I flipped through several pages, stopping at the Auguste Rodin summary. “Did you know that this project ultimately became Rodin’s obsession?”
“Uh-huh. He spent the last 37 years of his life working on it!”
I looked up to find Josh walking rapidly away from me up a random garden path. I do not understand why everybody isn’t as fascinated with these details as I am!
I followed him to arrive at the beautiful, peaceful setting of what I consider one of Rodin’s most disturbing pieces, Ugolino.
The story behind this sculpture is a depressing one. Apparently, in the 13th century this Ugolino character was accused of corruption. He, along with two sons and two grandsons (or nephews, in other versions) were imprisoned in the Gualandi Tower where they were all starved to death.
And here they are, starving to death:
But the gardens were beautiful, and we had a good time there.
Figuring we’d pushed 17-year-old Josh’s museum gallivanting to the max for the day, we headed back for a nice dinner and a view of Le Tour Eiffel at night.
Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, mes amies! (Until next time, my friends!)
All photographs © Holly, Chris and Ashleigh Bowne unless otherwise noted.