Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Louvre by Margot Justes

The Louvre. The one and only. One of the most-if not-the most renowned museum in the world. A ‘must see’ for every tourist visiting Paris.

Yes, it is magnificent, colossal and overwhelming. It is one of those museums where you stand in the center and breathlessly say where do I go first? What must I see this visit? For you cannot possibly see everything. The rush is on. And what a rush it is.

Set in the glorious Tuilerie gardens, the massive Romanesque structure beckons you in. But wait, before you even go inside-look around you-you’re standing in front of I.M. Pei’s fantastic glass pyramid that serves as the entrance to the museum. Stunning. A work of art in itself.

Pose for a few minutes, savor and admire-the juxtaposition of the old and the new. It shouldn’t work-but it does, the striking contrast gives an impression of openness and seems to magnify the size of the structure. An illusion to be sure, that adds to the already gigantic size of the museum.

Most tourists visit a well known friend - the Mona Lisa. Her visitors have increased (if that is possible-it is) since the Dan Brown book came out. She has been overwhelmed by admirers. Step back and listen to the ooh’s and aah’s as the tourists stand in front and marvel at the masterpiece. Maybe like many others you have a copy of the Da Vinci Code with you and are trying to find the clues. Imagine the possibilities.

And here I go…I have seen the painting quite a few times and have read, heard lectures about her hands, the enigmatic smile, the eyes, the mystery, the total encapsulating image.

The painting is a masterpiece to be sure, an elegant portrait. I’m probably the only one who doesn’t see the mystery. The only one who sees a forced smile. The only one who sees hands that have not seen hard work. I do not see a mystery. I see a classic portrait of a well to do woman. Passive. Removed. And maybe that is part of the mystery. Visit and you decide.

For me that is what art is all about. I’m not expert-just an admirer of the talent involved in putting an idea on canvas and making it work. Startle the viewer. Discuss. Become creative in what and how the viewer sees. Make me think. Wonder. So many endless possibilities…

Of course there is more, you’ll meet Venus De Milo, standing poised, ready to be admired. And there is much to admire. You’ll see Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, a magnificent painting. Stirring. Hair raising bravery. A Must see.

Next week, I’ll let write about my favorite piece. You knew there would be a favorite, didn’t you?

Till next Time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
Heat of the Moment ISBN 978-1-59080-596-1
available on


Anonymous said...

Margot -- I have had my BEST ideas come out of travel. I imagine myself my book character, say Dr. Jessica Coran while in Hawaii would be thinking WHAT about this and that? I know it comes off as schizoid, esp. around other travelers when you erupt in the museum with "What a great place for a killing!" And you don't wanna get hauled into a jail overseas anywhere! Or home for that matter. But you get my point. Great blog. Myself, I had a major spiritual reaction to the Grand Canyon but I love art museums, too.

Morgan Mandel said...

You left us with a cliffhanger. I wonder which will be your favorite.

Morgan Mandel

Margot Justes said...

Rob, it doesn't what moves you, whether it's nature, art, music, etc, need I say books-as long as something does. I can't imagine not having that kind of 'therapy'.

Morgan, you'll have to wait for next week.