Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tourist Time

It can be fun to be a tourist, especially in Paris. For most of the people riding the Metro from Pigalle (a few blocks away from the Anvers station) station towards the Seine, it is a normal working day, so the ride is nothing special. For us it was nerve wracking/exciting to figure out that the line we wanted to take to the Eiffel Tower was accessed most easily from the Pigalle station. We followed arrows through a few subterranean tunnels to the correct platform, then enjoyed being whisked towards the river and past it.

Because I couldn't figure out how we were going to get from the Eiffel Tower to the Musee D'Orsay and because the line we were on had a station near the Musee D'Orsay, we skipped the Eiffel Tower and went straight to the museum. Sometimes the path of least resistance is the best. This museum has been on my bucket list a long time.

Outside of the museum there is an enormous plaza. It had hardly anyone in it, so I was able to get a photo of Sweetie with the museum behind and he took one of me. The Musee D'Orsay building used to be a train station and the architecture is fascinating. One can see rivets and rosettes together, which is not common.

I love the clock face that you can see through.

I was able to see across the river, across much of Paris. After I went out on the terrace at that level I could and all the way to our neighborhood and the Sacre Coeur.

 The first floor has beautiful classical marble statues and art students carrying on a grand tradition of sketching those statues.

Upstairs we found what I most wanted to see, the Impressionists paintings. A series of connecting halls are hung with about 20 paintings per wall. There are also glass cases with small Degas bronzes

and the occasional large bronze dancer.

There were relatively few people, so it was possible to stand in front of a painting for a few minutes before anyone else wanted to. Sometimes there was someone there, so I came back later and took my own photo.

Compare that to the usual experience in the U.S. where these kinds of paintings become the excuse for a 'Blockbuster' event, with tickets sold so that hundreds are wanting to be in front of a painting at any given moment. That was the case when I saw this Monet plein-air painting of Femme a l'ombrelle tournee. There were many people between me and the painting then and no one when I saw it in Paris.

For an artist one of the astounding things is that you can get a few inches away from the painting. No touching of course, but being so close I was able to really see the brushwork and how thin or thick the paint was applied and how much the color was mixed and how much was a combination of two or more colors next to each other. For instance, this Cezanne was interesting because the paint was so thin that the canvas texture was very visible.

The brushwork on this Monet was almost pointillist, very different than the long strokes of paint in the lady with the umbrella.

I was taking so much time with all of this that poor Sweetie eventually just found a comfortable chair and rested. He knew that this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I'm lucky he is a patient guy. I took more photos of the paintings, too, but this post is getting pretty long without putting them all up.

On the way out we saw this fine bronze fellow. He immediately made me think of my youngest sister. She loves the big cats...and big dogs, too.

Next time we'll take a ride on the Seine and see some more tourist sights.

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