If one is planning a visit and wishes only to take a cursory glance at the Mona Lisa and a couple of other famous paintings, a couple of hours should suffice. If however, you want to cover the museum’s entire collection of art work ( I’m talking about the paintings only, not artifacts ) and spend more time appreciating each piece, I’ll guesstimate about 3 full days, at least.
Rushing through everything will not only leave you with a backache at the end of the day, ( a looot of walking is involved ) but also a splitting headache from visual overload. IMHO, the better way to appreciate these sublime masterpieces is to split your visit into a couple of days and view the paintings at a leisurely pace, taking regular breaks in between. Sit down on the many benches found throughout the museum and give yourself, as well as the artwork time to breathe.
(above) A typical wing inside the Louvre, lined up with lots and lots of paintings on both walls. It takes a considerable amount of time to walk from one end to the other even without looking at the paintings.
(above) A long line of people ( extending well beyond the picture ) waiting to enter from the main entrance via the giant glass pyramid. I highly recommend the Paris Museum Pass, which saves you the time and hassle of queuing up, and you definitely want to enter the museum from anywhere but the main entrance.
Below are some of the highlights we saw over our 2 days of visit. There’s just way too many, so I’ll continue with more in a later post.
(above) Eugene Delacroix’s famous magnum opus “Liberty Leading The People”, an exemplary sample of the Romanticism movement. Coldplay went ahead and made it even more famous, of course.
Theodore Gericault’s dramatic and larger than life painting “Raft Of The Medusa”, measuring about 7 metres by 5 metres. ( compare minuscule human in picture for scale. ) I stared at this painting for the longest time, bathing in its magnificence – to think that the painter finished it when he was only 27 is just mind-blowing. Gericault’s friend Eugene Delacroix had a part to play in this painting by posing as a still life model for one of the characters. ( If my memory serves me well, he’s the reclining figure with his head out of frame at the lower right corner. )
(above) Jacques-Louis David’s “Death of Marat”. This was one of the first few paintings I came across in my art history lessons and it brings back many memories. Director Alexander Payne pays tribute to the artist in his film “About Schmidt”, starring Jack Nicholson. ( below )
(below) Also by Jacques-Louis David is “Oath Of The Horatii”, a paradigm of the Neoclassicism movement. (below) Imagine how inspiring it can be taking art lessons surrounded by such sublime masterpieces. These students have no idea how envious I am.
(above) Three of Georges de La Tour’s masterpieces adorn this wall. Take a look at this older post.
Jan van Eyck’s “Virgin and Child with Chancellor Rolin”. The painting is incredibly detailed and you have to see it in person, up close to fully appreciate its technical brilliance. ( see close up of detail below ) Most people will immediately recognize his other famous painting, “Arnolfini Portrait”, in the National Gallery, London.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Virgin Of The Rocks”. A nearly identical one, also by Leonardo, hangs in the National Gallery, London. In Ron Howard’s Da Vinci Code this was the painting that Sophie ( Audrey Tatou ) threatens to damage as she and Langdon attempts escape from the security guard in Louvre.
Fans of Spanish artist Diego Velazquez will no doubt find the girl ( Infanta Margarita ) familiar – indeed, she also appears in his masterpiece “Las Meninas”, which is housed in Museo Del Prado in Madrid, Spain.
There are scores and scores of amazing paintings by artists that I’ve never come across before, ( I make it a point to note down all these artists, thank you Louvre for letting us take pictures. ) like the one below by a French female painter called Marguerite Gérard. Her rendering of the subject’s glossy costume is so life-like that it seems to be spilling out of the painting. I was completely mesmerized for about 10 minutes.
More in a later post. Are there any paintings/artists you really like ?