Bordeaux is a beautifully sad city. It was once glorious, and every country at some time has laid claim…and siege to it. But now it seems to have lost much of its former luster, and it seems to be tarnishing from lack of use…and lack of care. It reminds me much of Dresden after the end of East Germany. Dresden formerly the jewel of Germany seems to have many parallels with Bordeaux. The city’s people seem sad too. Who knows, it may have just been the day. There were a ton of people out walking the streets, but not so much for commerce, just to be out. Next weekend begins their annual wine festival, so perhaps everyone’s mind and attention were toward that. At one time though, this city could have rivaled many for beauty.

This is one LONG bridge I walked it today. It is way longer than it appears.

This monument to Girondins is a combination between carved stone, bronze, relief, and waterworks.

So the Musee des Beaux Art here isn’t as good as I would have hoped, nor nearly as large as all the talk about it. But, they did have some great pieces. And, they had one Bouguereau. He came to study here at the Ecole des Beaux Art before going on to study at the Ecole in Paris. They had a really big offering of Italian art, far more than French, which really surprised and somewhat disappointed me, but this piece was nice.

I thought that his use of a light in the canvas was very smart. In reality it is really a mid-light, but because everything else in the work is so dark, it appears very light. A good way to deal with the lack of high chroma yellows at the time this painting was made. Smart.

There is just something about Franz Hals. His figures feel so alive and contemporary. The seem like real people rather than the often classicized faces of some academy painters.

This piece was so cleaver just like the one posted above. Again another way to make use of mid-tones as lights when you don’t have a lot of high chroma paints at your disposal. In addition, since the light source is weak like moonlight, you don’t have to render forms as volumes but rather as silhouettes saving tons of time and labor. Again smart.

Just nice. You can really feel the air in the room, especially under the vertical sheet of music.

Bouguereau painted this piece 21 years before the piece that I showed last. You can see some the hallmarks of his craft are there, but there are still points of indecision, mistakes, and room for growth. Not to say that this piece is clumsy, but at this point he was only back from Rome 5 years…kinda like me, and was just starting to make a name for himself. It was good for me to see.

I really liked this painting. The subject is brutish and visceral and so is the paint handling. It appears to have been painted by someone with a heavy hand like a heavyweight boxer. I love the little truths included like the guy biting his apron, and the straw in the shoes- before they had vibram heels. I don’t know, but those clogs probably made your feet sweat, and the blood from the meat probably didn’t help. Could the straw have functioned as a wick or sponge?

I thought that I might include a couple drawings that I’ve done while traveling. I brought some art supplies, but it seems that I’ve used the Conté crayons the most. Fitting at least to draw with Conté while in France??? 🙂

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