Thursday, April 10, 2014


... the closest we will get to Egypt on this trip ...
I haven't been to the Louvre for 30 years. Driving by on a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus and hoping to go in can't count. Having our four day museum pass in hand we lined up sat the express line. Rebecca's job has turned out to be finding the right bus for us, figuring out the way to get to the museum once we are off the bus, and giving us options as to how to spend the day. Her favourite way to organize a day is to acknowledge that since we can't see everything, we should try to do 2 to four rooms in detail. But which rooms? Wanting to see an Egyptian pyramid we tried to make our way past the reconstruction of the old moat that surrounded the Louvre and ended up at the sphinx, the largest one outside of Egypt. I listened to the audio, remember that the snake on the top of the king's head was a symbol of his power and observed the lion's body on which the king's head sits. A cartouch under his beard that carried his name reminded me that anyone can buy one now a days, either in gold or silver, depending on the size of their pocket book.
... found in a farmer's field, 1828 ...

We changed direction to head to the Greek, Roman and Etruscan marble statues from antiquity.

 Bonnie is best at spotting the number beside the object for which there is dialogue on the audio guide.

The Venus de Milo is a show-stopper. Groups of guided tours went by us about every five minutes, all headed in her direction.

... hooked up to our Nintendos in the Louvre ...
The audio guide is like a Nintendo. This was a worry to Rebecca, knowing that I was going to have to use this and have never played Nintendo. "She is just going to be on a steep learning curve," said Rebecca. "She will be a looser for a while."

"That is bad to say that about her," said Bonnie defending me.

"I said she will be a looser, not hopeless," said Rebecca.

I ignored the trash talk. I was able to punch those numbers into the Nintendo faster than I had imagined.
... so much to see ... so little time ....
My favourite room? The Caryatids Room -- exquisite marble, artful shapes, wonderful stories. Rebecca reminded me that the red stamp on an obscure place on the statue was the mark that sixteenth century kings had palace officials place on the marble that they were buying, trading and stealing from other areas in the world. I stood at one of the busts of Socrates for a long time, thinking about how he is still influencing the world. A few days earlier Rebecca and I had engaged with each other on a discussion about the correct pronunciation of nihilism. She said it with a long i. i told her I thought it had a long e. We went out to the internet to find a dictionary with a pronunciation guide. I bowed to her wisdom -- she was correct, though the pronunciation with the long e is correct if one is talking about philosophy. That made both of us laugh. Now I claimed I always use the word in a philosophical sense. All that to say -- hundreds of years later the old philosophers still pass through my life, both in words and in art in the museum.

Tired, hungry, suffering museum fatigue, we stopped for lunch and a pause before trying a new space, as Rebecca had suggested we do, earlier in the morning. I suppose the exit from the museum was as much fun as anything. Anyone who works at the museum gathers together in a carefully worked plan, acting as a net through which people cannot move backward. Hundreds of people began to move toward the exits. Maybe thousands -- all carefully channeled by museum personnel now with body language that let us know there would be no extra minutes looking at any of the treasures in the building.

"You are the last ones to turn in your audio guides. Now I can go home," said one worker to Rebecca as he packed up to leave.

The cloakroom attendants has an easy time finding our coats. There were no others left on the wire carousel. Hard not to hang onto to the very last minute in a museum when one has come so far.

My new secret fantasy would be to live here long enough to have seen all I want to see in that museum.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a lovely surprise to see your faces here today. I can just imagine my face alongside yours. I have been wondering how the trip was going. I should have know Arta would be out blogging.