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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Orsay Art

If there was ever any doubts that the Orsay Museum was once a train station, this massive, all-important, time piece (a work of art itself) should put them to rest.
About six months ago I wrote regarding my research and personal preparation for visiting the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. At the time, I didn't talk much about the art it contained, only about the museum itself. Now, six months later, I can speak firsthand about the art, and not only that, but show it to you. When I visit museums I take tons of photos. They range from good, to bad, and indifferent (mostly the latter). I couldn't begin to show you even a decent representative sample of all the incredible masterpieces I found, many of which I've written and taught about for more than thirty years. Therefore, I'm going to use a different filter--that art which surprised me in some way. Art history being one of my favorite topics, and having trampled through it for about half my life, that does tend to limited the numbers somewhat. Still, this posting has far more photos than any I have ever done before. Thus, aside from this introductory blurb, I'm not including much text, only captions--the who, when, what, and why involving each image.

The Decadence of Romans, 1847, Thomas Couture. Academicians could paint virtually any form of sexual immorality so long as they labeled it "decadence." The painting also illustrates the difficulty of taking decent photos of paintings in a museum setting.

Mercure Inventant le Caducee, 1878, Jean Antoine Idrac. Sculpture is much easier than paintings to photograph. The labels next to each work (below, right) are all important, if you can read French, that is. At the Orsay, virtually none were translated into any other language. I think if I were going to toy with a snake, I'd try to dress more appropriately.
The Young Artist, 1875, Charles
Degeorge. After a day at the Orsay
this sums up how I felt. 
The title card, should be shot
after each photo taken of the art.

No, the Orsay isn't big enough to
contain the Statue of Liberty, it just
looks that way.
Charles Cordier in 1827 combined
cast bronze with carved marble.
The Orsay features a startling glass floor allowing you to walk over and around
a model of beautiful downtown Paris. Here we see the famed Opera House.
Nearby, in this cutaway scale model of the Paris Opera, one can examine in minute detail the complex architectural, theatrical, and engineering details of the structure.
The work of set designers can also be seen in scale models.
Courbet's The Atelier of a Painter is seen here set apart for restoration.
The foreground figures are life-size.
I didn't know Toulouse Lautrec
did stained glass.
Nor did I know Jean-Leon
Gerome did portrait sculpture.
Something every art museum should
have--bean bag sculpture!
Perfect for my afternoon nap.
Something every art museum
does have--a restaurant.
Note the huge clock window.
Claude Monet's Lunch on the Grass (left), and Breakfast on the Grass (right),
not to be confused with a version combining the two, also titled Lunch on the Grass, all painted in 1866.
(Try to ignore the reflection of the skylight in the damnable Lucite covering the paintings.)
Monet also painted this turkey.


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