The Louvre

It’s astounding, baffling, how one can see an image millions of times but not truly absorb it.

The Mona Lisa. I know you can picture it clearly in your mind, but it is so much more than an iconic painting. It is daVinci’s masterpiece (if a bit smaller than you’ve likely imagined). It is correct in every way—smooth brush strokes hardly visible to one standing a few feet away from it.

A picture can speak a thousand words, or so they say, but why won’t anyone tell us what her smile means? She must be awfully patient to sit there for however long, holding that smile.

Da Vinci created the painting over 500 years ago in Florence, Italy. It remains priceless and, despite a few tiny chips in the paint, perfect.

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No, that’s not a ghost standing and admiring the art. The Mona Lisa is covered with reflective bulletproof glass due to the past vandalizations of the painting. Thank goodness she’s safe now.

The Venus de Milo. Armless, pupil-less, precise in detail. The sculpture dates back to around 120 BC, first discovered by a peasant in the 1820s within the ruins of an ancient city. There’s a bit of speculation about who truly constructed her, but it’s been such a long while, how can we be sure she didn’t walk into town one day, all sleek white marble proclaiming “I’m here!” Truth be told, she’s lasted a long time, and a lot has happened since then. I know you’ve seen it before, but there’s something about seeing an art piece so three-dimensional and grand, so old and new-looking, that it makes you wonder: “Am I here right now?”

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While these are the main attractions of the Louvre, I’d also like to take the time to appreciate some of the less-famous (but still incredible) pieces of art. When we visited the museum, we walked in and out of rooms lined with medieval paintings. I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would have liked, but here’s an example of one I found particularly striking, with its colors and detail.

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The ceilings of the Louvre, (as well as its not-quite-as-famous paintings) are especially underrated. As you go through the museum, you’ll find the ceilings get more and more spectacular. More often than not, they have a domed shape with painted images and shining gold sculptures that can truly only be appreciated from many feet below. (I didn’t get a picture of these either. Just take my word for it.)

All in all, the Louvre, in and of itself, is its own living, thriving art piece. Today, its halls are filled with tourists, all excited to see the centuries-old paintings it has to offer. Once upon a time, it functioned as a fortress under Phillip II, and today it still stands, bringing thousands of people joy and emotion each day. I encourage you to pay the Louvre a visit if you find yourself in the Paris area. But make sure to take your time.

Art is best enjoyed slowly.

5 thoughts on “The Louvre

  1. Thanks for the reflections (literally in the case of the Mona Lisa) on the Louvre. It sounds like a moving, thoughtful experience. What a fascinating trip you’ve been on! I don’t know if you’ll have time, if you do, I was also blown away by the D’Orsay, the breadth and depth of impressionist art was incredible. Look forward to hearing about your trip in person later this summer. Dave

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    1. merci beaucoup! we did visit the d’orsay (the day after our trip to the louvre) and were thouroughly amazed at the depth and detail of some of the paintings. we can’t wait to return to our friendly confines to recount tales of our adventures.

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  2. Syd, that was a truly poetic description of the Louvre. I think you need a week + just to begin to see the artwork there. I didn’t recognize the artist who painted the image of the Madonna with the infant Jesus and John the Baptist, but I also thought it was lovely. I’ve always been a fan of David’s work, and they obviously have a lot at the Louvre. I also enjoyed the statuary and, quite frankly, the floors.

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    1. thank you! i wish we could have spent more time in the louvre, but it is truly so enormous that it would take days to see it all. my mom and i were trying to find information on that one painting, but no luck. we are excited to return home to tell you guys all about our travels. 🙂

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