Special to The Village News
October 10, 2012: We quickly find out this morning why a prepaid museum pass is second only to getting a 30-day bus pass. While throngs of people wait in the line around I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid, we skip to the front, passes in hand!
This is our first trip to the legendary Musée du Louvre. Once a palace to kings and queens, today it is one of the most visited museums in the world with nearly 11 million visitors annually.
First, on our agenda is to see the “Mona Lisa.” Her portrait is small compared to her reputation. Although, her famous smile feels like she has a secret. (Or is she just hiding bad teeth?) Regardless, it is her smile that will stay with me. She has a quiet beauty which is protected by a bullet-proof enclosure that keeps the crowds from getting too close.
We have a couple more must-sees on our list before our legs give out. We’ve already seen “Winged Victory,” the ancient tribute to Nike, the Goddess of Victory, because she is in the central landing on the way up the main steps leading to the galleries.
We meander into the Sully gallery to gape in front of “Le sacre de Napoleon” by Jacques-Louis David (pronounced Da Vid). It depicts the consecration of Josephine as the new Empress of France and it’s over 10-feet wide. We’ll discover later that the exact replica of this painting hangs in the Palace Versailles. Guess they didn’t have Brownie cameras.
We ramble through various galleries, rooms, and displays as we continue until we find “The Code of Hammurabi.” We pass Michelangelo’s “Venus de Milo” and his 7-foot statue of the “Dying Slave.” Wandering on, we have an awkward moment at the very naughty “Turkish Bath” canvas before stepping into the Richelieu gallery to pause in front of a painting by Leopold Robert, “The Arrival of the Harvesters in the Pontine Marshes.” It may be our new favorite.
The luxury of every square inch of this palace, from ceiling, to silk covered walls, to the ornately gilded door knobs, is beyond compare. The overindulgent luxury of the Louvre Palace is such that it defies description.
The collection in the Louvre Musée lists over a half-a-million works of art. A scale so massive there isn’t any wonder that only 38,000 of them are on display at any one time. Clearly not to be seen in just one day.
We traipse through so many silk-walled rooms we, alas, end up inside the King’s private apartments. Compared to our country, we have nothing like this to match the ultra-luxuriousness of the Palace de Louvre.
The Sun King’s lifestyle was so extravagant, I could live in this place in a heartbeat!
To be continued.
Elizabeth can be reached at [email protected].