July 21, 2010

Paris - Musée d'Orsay

A few weeks before our big trip I took a very quick trip to Paris all for myself, by myself. After my trip to the Kröller-Müller I was inspired to see the museums of Paris, something I was not able to do on our trip last December. In two days I saw three fantastic buildings, thousands of works of art and then some. Of course, I made some time to eat, see some friends and even did a little window shopping. (I love this store by the way.)

On the train from Bruxelles I prepared myself for the art history I was about to take in. I decided to view the works in chronological order. I started with antiquities through the 19th century at the Louvre, then went through the later 19th century at the Musée d'Orsay and finally ended my trip with modern and contemporary art at the Centre PompidouI have a lot to process and post about the Louvre, so I will start with the 
Musée d'Orsay

This the museum I was most excited about. I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures of the beautiful restored train station that this marvelous museum is housed in. Cameras are not allowed inside, but I really enjoyed taking a break from my camera. I walked around with my Moleskine, paid attention to my reactions and jotted them down. It was really nice to look at the paintings with my eyes, instead of through my camera, something I intend to do more often.  Here are a few highlights from my notes...

I started with the Crime and Punishment exhibition. I read this NY Times article about the exhibition a few months back, so I was thrilled to learn it was still on view. However, I was not prepared for the heaviness of the subject matter.

I saw my 3rd guillatine since moving to Europe. I even saw the baskets where they used to keep the heads. Considering my frightened interest in this machine as a child, this was pretty cool to me.

La Morte de Marat (The Death of Marat) 
Jacques-Louis David, 1793

I have been meaning to make it to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium to see this painting, so I felt extremely satisfied to see it in Paris.

I adore Edgar Degas' Small Dancer. I'm not sure if it's satin ribbon or the delicate tulle, but I think this piece is exquisite and I am always captivated when I see it. I wish she would come to life and dance for me.

Bal du moulin de la Galette, Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876. 
Image from here, but visit this link for official information.
This is the painting that evoked the most emotion. I stood in front of it for about five minutes, a very long time in museums. I was overcome with happy tears of joy as I looked at Renoir's brushstrokes and the lively actions and faces in the painting. I felt like I was right there. I wept because I wasn't.

La chambre de Van Gogh à Arles (Van Gogh's Room at Arles), Vincent Van Gogh, 1889.
Image from here, but visit this link for official information.

I have to share this painting, only because there are three in the world and I have yet to see one. In college, I completed an assignment for a 3-D design studio based on this work. This piece is very important to me because I worked so intimately building a 3-D model of this interior. Over the course of the 3 week assignment, I really came to know the work and also myself. My version was placed in a pear crate, had a popsicle stick floor, furniture made from Sculpy and actual linens that I sewed. I don't have the piece anymore - and that makes me sad. When I went to Amsterdam in February, it was not at the Van Gogh Museum, and alas... When I went to the Musée d'Orsay it was not there either. I met a very nice couple from Chicago, who told me that there is one at the Art Institute.

I guess I have to go to Chicago.
And I have to make that piece again. 

1 comment:

Artist said...

It is so good to see these paintings. They are just great.