Sorry for the hiatus. The hotel where I am staying had someone come and “repair” the internet that was working just fine before he came. Needless to say, it took three days to get someone else here to fix what he “repaired”. Sorry to have caused any worry, and it is nice to know that friends and family are keeping me on a short leash.

I feel that I could and should come home now. I’ve already done so much and feel that the trip has been well worth it. I know that I have more that I need to do, but I worry about my boys. I worry about the gym, and that everyone is doing OK while I’m gone. I worry about Mark having to shoulder a heavy burden. I have been looking for for 39 something “Cool” to bring home for these boys. I don’t know if I can ever get more “Cool” than the shark tooth necklaces that I brought home last time. But, we’ll see.

Well, I’ve gone to the Louvre every day for the last 4 days, and have still only seen 2/3 of it. Yes, that is right it has taken me 4 days to see 66% of the museum, it is that big…and that good. The first day I did 9 hours, then 8 the next, the day after 11 hours, today I only did 4 because I went to see two other museums and two churches. It is funny what you remember. I remembered and found the exact hotel my mom and I stayed at 10 years ago, and tried to make a reservation for old time sake just to be told that he was booked for the entire month of June! It seems that Europe is on sale, and everyone from America is taking advantage. Everyone on the streets is American. So I remembered the hotel and street, but I didn’t remember the line to get into Notre Dam. After I got to the square I remembered being annoyed at having to wait in line to get into a church. Somehow it seems like it should be the other way around. Churches should be waiting in line to get you inside. Anyway, funny what you remember.

So just to put the size of the Louvre’s collection into perspective, there are 35,000 works of art on display in the Louvre, and roughly 10,000 more not on display. To devote 30 seconds to each and ignoring the time taken walking from one work to the next, it would take about thirteen 24 hour days to see each piece. I took 1600 photos of pieces, literally about 1000 pieces documented!!!

So here are some pics of the paintings that moved me, floored me, or marked for me a rite of passage.

This is the Oath of the Horatii, by Jacques-Louis David. It and the next painting are the ones that I raved about before. The ones that made me want to become an artist. The interesting thing about seeing it this time is how simple it looks to me know. I feel I’m on equal footing with him here. It has only 9 figures, and while extremely well done, I think that I can hang. Later in his life, he gets crazy with how many figures he renders, but really his paint application and technique really doesn’t change much. And, for some of you artists who might be reading this saying, what a cocky @#$#% I am for saying that, frankly I don’t want to hear it. This blog isn’t for you, it is for me. Besides I’d rather have delusions of grandeur that carry me on to greater adventures than low self-esteem and a self-defeatist mentality and never do anything worth remembering. And, if you know your history, David himself was a little bit of a cocky #$%# and look what he did.

This is the “Raft of the Medusa” it is based on a real story that happened off the coast of Africa. A ship, called the Medusa was going down, and the captain and the officers took the boats and left some of the passengers to die. It was very much a painting about class distinction. The officers wouldn’t let these second class and Africans into their boat and let them go on this raft. The whole thing caused much an uproar at the time, and so did the painting. While this painting is HUGE and so are the figures, it has fallen quite a bit in my estimation. While the figures are drawn well it does not have that same spark for me that it once did.

This is Delaroche’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps”. I still think that the reduction in the Queen’s Gallery is better, but this is such a great painting. It doesn’t convey the emotions as well as the other one does. You don’t really feel cold in front of this one, and the horses don’t convey the same emotion either. Also, in this one the horse’s hoof isn’t breaking the ground and Napoleon’s face is changed. This one he looks more pathetic, like someone to pity. The other one he looks defiant.

This is Federico Barroci, mentioned before, and one of my heros. Not his best piece, but he really doesn’t have any bad ones. The painting is about Jesus’ circumcision. Now look at that babies face. Is that not the first Gerber Baby in history? Do you know any baby that looks like this at 8 days old, and after or before he has been circumcised? But, this again is one of the reasons why Barocci is so great. When this painting hung in a church, how much comfort would you take at seeing a small child, and infant, take on the knife to his genitals with such a peaceful grin? How can you view any of life’s problems without some levity because of this image?

This work is by a relatively obscure artist, but wow what an impact! It is one that definitely makes you feel cold. Here a group of adventurers have been shipwrecked, some have already frozen to death one sits there not knowing what to do, and you, you are the only one to not take your defeat lying down. Your lonely foot prints in the snow mark you search for…something. And this is your last vantage as you look back before you drop over the ridge to either oblivion, peril, or rescue. What a powerful piece.

This is the painting that I spoke of the other day by Pierre Subleyras’ “Le Repas Chez Simon”. What a masterpiece. I could talk about this painting for a day, and in my journal I wrote a tome about it. But, I will let the work speak for itself. If there is one person’s art that so singularly “talks” the way I wish to speak it would be this man and this painting.

This last work is by Philip De Champaigne. Although I had known of his works previously, his best works are in the Louvre, and I am a fan! His works show not only atmosphere, but gravity. Though they are two dimensional representations of what they represent, each figure seems to have weight. See how the eye feels wet? New hero!

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