Arts + Sciences Hunt

Perspective epitomizes the marriage of Arts + Sciences, so it should be no surprise that I’m providing this as the give-away clue to all those clever BAC-aged youths who’ll be on the hunt for Science at the Louvre tomorrow afternoon. Science-Académie (known as Science-Ac’).

Established in 2006 with just a few hundred students this Paris-Montagne Association now stands at 2000 students, enlivening the interest of high school students and pre-BAC kids in Science. Science-Ac was born from the l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS is the French equivalent of MIT, for you American readers), and has generational dons or tutors per each level, PhD candidates doing lab work along high-schoolers. Their proximity in age of course bolsters the inspiration for the students to further their scientific studies.

Tomorrow a group of Science-Ac’ students will be scouring the Louvre for 25 pieces of art that marry Art with Science. For instance a David and Goliath inspects the centripetal and centrifugal forces of the sling. But as that strays a bit from typical THATLou reading I’ll do a give-away that’s a bit closer to home.

Here are two works of art in two separate wings on two separate floors which illustrate perspective beautifully. Scientific perspective is an approximate representation, on a flat surface (such as a canvas or paper), of an image as it is perceived by the eye. The two most characteristic features of perspective are:

  1. objects are drawn smaller as their distance from the observer increases
  2. The distortion of items when viewed at an angle (spatial foreshortening)

In art the term foreshortening is often used synonymously with perspective, even though foreshortening can occur in other types of non-perspective drawing representations.

da Messina's Christ at the Cross

da Messina’s Christ at the Cross

 CHRIST AT THE COLUMN Antonello da Messina (1430-1479), 15th C Italian Painting

This fine painting is tiny, only .30m x .21m wide, so in a reversed way it pops out among the Italian Painting gallery. Antonello’s acquaintance with the rules and foreshortenings of Tuscan perspective allow him here to show a living, monumental Christ whose Passion thrusts itself upon the viewer. This immediacy is enhanced by the illusionist handling of the knot in the rope: set at the bottom of the composition, it appears to rest on the frame, as if on the ledge of a window opening onto the divine. During his apprenticeship in the Naples of the Princes of Aragon – collectors of the work of the Northern painters – Antonello acquired Flemish oil painting techniques: the layering of paint and glazes creates depth and subtle transitions from shade to light, while also enabling meticulous realism in physical terms and in the stroke by stroke rendering of Christ’s hair and beard. Please pose with his pained expression (just think of all Christ had been through at this point), to me it says “how much longer do I have to go through this torture?” It’s a great painting.                                             

de Hooch Card Players in an Opulent Interior

de Hooch Card Players in an Opulent Interior

CARD PLAYERS, Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684), 17th C Dutch Painting

During his decade in Delft (Holland), Pieter de Hooch was deeply influenced by the color and strict lines of the art of Carel Fabritius, who also influenced Vermeer (huh, Vermeer’s Astronomer may just be close by, then!). de Hooch developed a personal style that proved a success, basing his compositions on a colorful, artful use of perspective, with figures fitting harmoniously into the overall scheme. His works are subtly illuminated with lateral sources of light and often feature a series of rooms leading from one to the next. The lines of the marble floor tiles here draw the viewer’s attention to the vanishing lines of the painting. The spatial elements opening onto the exterior-windows and half-open doors-are punctuated by a contrasting play of light, accentuating the lines and volumes. Please photo your team pointing to the small hint of another room in this painting that measures.


Louvre Photo Series cont’d

C - pyramid from passage

This is either the last or the penultimate post inthe Louvre Photo Series. It’s been a pleasure to ponder what images to use for the imminent THATLou website. 

C- 5 - spiral stairs from above, centered, unfortunately

As I touched on in the last post, photographic tastes which I’d long ago forgotten awoke, such as automatically turning to black and white, steering clear of portraiture (unless people are tiny, indecipherable specs in the distance, I’m not really interested in them), looking at shadows, architecture and reflexions, and above all — what the Louvre provides in spades – is a love of geometric shapes. Don’t really have much more to say than that.

C 4 - escalator demi'lune

In fact a complaint I’ve had from many regarding this blog is that the posts are just too long. When I’m writing about content, which is the majority of this blog – although you wouldn’t know it from these recent website / THATd’Or round-ups! – it’s true that they are a bit wordy. But were anyone who took art history seriously to read this (apart from my mother) they’d say that this blog is too superficial (she saves my feelings by not saying anything). So since you can’t please everyone, I’m just going to do a photo-dump today, and leave you with some images which may or may not appear on this imminent website that Jenny Beaumont’s doing a phenomenal (and immense) job on.

C - lock, RAW edited in picasa

Once the site is launched, hopefully it won’t be too long before I actually return to a bit of content myself, and take a look at the content of the Louvre — and other museums for that matter. Otherwise I may just lose myself in talking about nothing. We wouldn’t want that!

© Daisy de Plume

You can see more images of the Louvre here.

Louvre Lovelies

C - 4 - tourist shot, bldg with cloudsContinuing this photographic series, here are some more Louvre shots, some of which may appear on the imminent THATLou website. It’s funny about photography, I don’t know much about it, other than that I like it – to both take photos and look at them.

C 1 - escalator from above, sculpture section through circle

My taste for photography was borne exclusively whilst working for David Friend, who’d been the photography editor at Life Magazine for 18 years. His photo library and his pure joy of looking at pretty much any image, let alone the enriching old photojournalists who he palled around with like Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks and Cornell Capa was an education unto itself. At the time I never appreciated how clearly I would remember nearly every interaction that I had with those venerable old characters.

C - 4 - Metalwork

In that phase I also took a class at the ICP just to get a grasp on technical bare basics. Much to my surprise it was the developing that I enjoyed more than actually shooting film (which I’d loved doing for years). I had more control in the dark room, not to mention liking the smell of chemicals. But I forget things as quickly as I learn them, so now all I’m left with is what I do and don’t like.

C- 3 - metalwork

Here’s something that I adore: my husband playing with Light + Motion:

C 3 - H's Blurry Art shotFor other snaps du Louvre there’s Focusing my Lens on the Louvre and Up Next? THATLou Website. Next week we’ll move to the prototype phase, which apparently is where the fun begins!

C - double escalators, full circle

But before Jenny Beaumont‘s beautifully designed website is launched, more snaps shall be deposited herewith.

Focusing my Lens on the Louvre

Ok, with a title like that I should really be writing up the Louvre’s satellite branch in Lens (which, by the way, can you believe that Delacroix’s Liberty Guiding the People painting was defaced with the “ae9/11” graffiti (in Lens)? Whether you like that painting or not – it is an inherent image of France, having been on the 100-Franc note before they switched to the Euro. Here’s the scoop from the Guardian, but apparently the painting’s not permanently damaged).

Copyrighted Louvre photo 1 - metalwork

But parenthetical tangents aside, this “Focusing my Lens of the Louvre” title is a continuation of this weekend’s post when I  touched on the imminent THATLou website. Whoopla is certainly in order, but not till it’s launched in early March. Till then I’ve been posting photos that may or may not be used in the final site.

from the Campana Galerie (where the Greek Vases are)

from the Campana Galerie (where the Greek Vases are)

Besides the pleasure of working with Jenny Beaumont, web-designer extraordinaire, the most rewarding part of the site has been to put time aside to actually look at the Louvre for the Louvre itself. Not visiting for the art, not visiting to create a treasure hunt (all of which are of course sublime visits unto themselves). But visiting exclusively to ponder the building itself is a pleasure I have not had since I first moved to Paris and used to go many times a week (I lived in the Marais and worked in St Germain des Pres so the 65,000 sq meters were where I made my pit stops).

copyrighted - spiral stairs vertical

It breathes history whilst integrating a sharp-edged, geometric modernity. IM Pei becomes more and more startlingly brilliant with each photographic visit that I’ve made. So without more blather, I’ll leave you with the images, this last one by El Argentino being my fave with its intentionally retro feel. The Parisian light is palpable. But I said I was going to zip the lip, right?

H's tourist shot of Louvre, retro

Up Next? THATLou Website!

C - 1' pyramid from above

So it’s sort of wild that THATLou is fairly close to its first year anniversary  (23 March was our first Angels + Wings Treasure Hunt at the Louvre, as was reviewed in Out and About in Paris among a host of other generous blogs). What’s most wild about this landmark may be something pretty basic:  we don’t yet have a website. It’s the first tool that most small business owners attack, that and business cards.

But it’s been a much busier year than I expected, and all good things come in time, right? So it is with great pomp and fanfare that this blog post should alight to your in-boxes to announce: This past week web-design-extraordinaire Jenny Beaumont and I have been on full-on all’attaque mode to produce THAT website! Jenny, an American based in the rolling hills of Normandie, is a bastion of patience and practicality as well as being a genius designer and crafty UN diplomat/devil’s advocate.  And I am blessed to have her guidance, as well as the wise counsel of Allison Blumenthal to subtle-ly stomp my sometimes feral enthusiasm.

C - 4 Spiral staircase, pyramid not evident

On the first-things-first basis we’ve been distilling all the necessities that are admittedly tricky to find on this blog.  The themes will be explained, the schedule and booking will be made easier, the generous press will be integrated along with corporate quotes, happy tourist reviews on Trip Advisor and testimonials of destination weddings and school groups visiting Paris.  And in a depth of field that I just can’t fathom (I tend to read the paper in hand, and write letters with a pen) I am getting a glimpse of just how abstract and brilliant Ms. Beaumont is.

C - 3 spiral stairs, pyramid above

The new website will be launched toward the end of Feb / beginning of March. Until then I shall post sporadic photos that both El Argentino (my husband) and I have had a ball taking for it. Of course most of the snaps posted here won’t be included in the final site (there are hundreds!), but if you happen to see any that you recommend certainly feel free to drop a line either below or via email.

Needless to say, I still need to take a dip south of the Seine to photograph for THATd’Or (Treasure Hunt at the Musée d’Orsay), as there will be a little sister site which will be launched simultaneously.

C - 2 ' triangular fountain from above

Règles en Français

THATLou (TREASURE HUNT AT THE LOUVRE, Chasse aux trésor au Louvre)

 Les règles générales sont assez simples! Nous vous distribuons une liste d’œuvres d’art au début de chaque THATLou. Chaque équipe doit se photographier devant autant d’œuvres d’art se trouvant sur cette liste que possible. Si vous envisagez de ne pas respecter les règles ci-dessous, sachez qu’il y aura des espions dans le musée (hi hi!). Si l’on vous voit courir ou que les membres de votre équipe sont séparés par exemple, vous serez automatiquement pénalisés.

Il s’avère que de fois les questions bonus demandent de poser pour des photos; des autres fois ils sont purement informatives, dans ce cas la réponse peut être toujours trouvée sur les photocopies ou sur les plaques au Musée.

Chaque équipe devrait s’organiser pour trouver ses points forts. Les rôles plus importants sont navigateur (quelqu’un qui sait bien lire les plans); la personne avec des yeux de lynx pour lire les toutes petites lettres; et celui qui a de la capacité pour bien s’orienter dans l’espace pour trouver les œuvres sur les salles. Les équipes sont formes de 2 à 4 personnes.

Les points bonus sont intégrés dans le texte (les photos de chaque pièce du trésor / œuvres d’art sont accompagnées d’un texte). Certains des points bonus sont en lien avec des articles publiés sur le blog (en anglais). Vous pouvez faire une recherche sur le site avec les mots associés à votre chasse au trésor (par exemple Beauty + the Beast(iary). Bestiary en anglais sont « créatures merveilleuses », comme griffons ou dragons, Centaures et Satyrs ou le sphinx ou Cerbère (le chien à trois têtes, vicieux, qui gardait Hadès, le monde des morts).  Les points bonus sont importants mais pas assez importants pour faire gagner à eux seuls une équipe.


1. En ce qui concerne les photographies, n’utilisez qu’un seul téléphone/appareil photo par équipe s’il vous plait. La personne (dans l’équipe) qui prends les photos peut changer mais continuez à utiliser le même appareil. Ces règles permettent de faciliter le décompte des scores à la fin du jeu.

2. Les membres d’une équipe doivent rester ensemble pendant tout le jeu et ne pas courir: si l’on vous voit à plus de 3 mètres l’un de l’autre, vous perdez 10 points par pieds qui vous sépare et l’équipe qui vous voit séparés récupérera vos points perdus! (et oui ! nous venons de passer de mètres à pieds…vous ne voulez pas apprendre l’équivalent de conversion de cette manière, restez ensemble!)

3. Aucune aide extérieure…Si l’on vous voit parler à un employé du Louvre, touriste ou personne de la sécurité, vous serez automatiquement éliminé du jeu. De même, vous n’avez pas le droit d’utiliser Internet ou tout outils autre (aucune Smart Phone) qu’une carte officielle du Louvre pendant le jeu. Je vais vous surveiller, ne vous faites pas attraper!

4. Nous devons nous retrouver à un endroit sur lequel nous nous sommes mis d’accord à l’avance à une heure précise (nous synchroniserons nos montres et nous motterons d’accord sur une heure de fin avant de commencer). Chaque minute de retard fait perdre 2 points à l’équipe mais souvenez-vous, ne courrez pas! Ceux qui ont 10 minutes de retards et plus seront disqualifiés. Parfois, il y a des raisons stratégiques pour être en retard, faites attention!   

En Résumé

  • Ne courrez pas
  • Pas d’Internet
  • Restez proches les uns des autres
  • Ne parlez à personne en dehors des membres de votre équipe

THATd’Or Round-up

Alexandre Falguière's Winner of a Cockfight (1870)

Alexandre Falguière’s Winner of a Cockfight (1870)

J’Adore THATd’Or. I do, j’Adore it to bits. Co-host Kristina Tencic, of the AFMO’s Avant Garde, and I thought it went off rather well, based exclusively on the bubbly attitude everyone had when we regrouped at Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty.

As you’ll see from the silly photos below some of the bonus questions requested our fine hunters to pose as various Edgar Degas dancers (awkward as they stretch), as well as the Falguière Winner of the Cockfight, with one leg raised, one arm in the air, victorious! But they had to ask someone else to take their picture, and some of the photos were even taken with the whole of the Musee d’Orsay Cafe Campana watching them balance.

Degas Ballerinas

Edgar Degas Ballerinas

The winners of the game, Team Orsay, got a whopping 1600 points (out of 2000), which perhaps reflects that all three of these Sexy Young Things were AFMO members. Pays to join, doesn’t it?

THATd'Or Prize went to Team Orsay!

THATd’Or Prize went to Team Orsay!

Rather ridiculously, I don’t have a photo of the winning Team Orsay (which stands for Obviously Really Sexy And Young). That said, I look forward to seeing Team Orsay, consisting of Elizabeth Kozina, Melissa Heyhoe and Lauren Hasty, for the Easter Hunt, as this prize above (made in part with the help of Allison Blumenthal) was granted to each of them.

Additionally, our THATd’Orers (doesn’t really work so well as a name), were called on to think of a team name for themselves, which we then voted for when we got to Le Petit Jacob. I suspect most people wanted to vote for the THATd’Or Treasure Whores, (because who can top such a great name?), but an inherent desire to win this second prize (a wood train, as per the hunt’s theme, Motion and Movement) kept people to voting for themselves.

THATd'Or Treasure Whores

THATd’Or Treasure Whores Won the Team Name Contest

Here we have the THATd’Or Treasure Whores posing as the Cockfight Winner. Can you tell they are facing the entire Cafe Campana as they pose? From left to right, Kasia Dietz (of Kasia Dietz handmade bags), Suzanne Flenard (of Square Modern, Mid-Century designer cushions) and Anne Mullier (of Ritournelle Blog).

Allison Blumenthal + Jennifer  team

Allison Blumenthal + Jennifer team

Team Franglais d’Orsay were particularly graceful (and unabashed) in their Degas ballet poses Allison Blumenthal (whose photography and artwork you can see here) and Jennifer Lejeune were joined by Jennifer’s friend from Brazil (whose name I sadly didn’t catch).

2 Men + MereganTeam 2 Men + a MeRegan did not win the name prize, but they did come in 2nd to the actual game prize. Their team name needs a bit of explaining, “2 Men” were the only male hunters, so their gender needed highlighting. Moreover the coincidence of having two ladies named Megan (Megan McGuire) and Regan (Regan Lynn), both of which are spelled this way, explains their name (which won out over 8 Thumbs, which I’m rather partial to, too).

Team Swingers as Degas

Team Swingers as Degas Dancers

Team Swingers are seen here posing as Degas dancers.  Camilla Kleniewski (of Milski Art Bags), Nathalie R., Stephanie B (who’s half of La Mom) and Anka Sima came in just 25 points below the second team at an impressive 1450.

Nicky, Grace and Lilian

Nicky, Grace and Lilian

Team La Chasse d’Or had an elegant name (but sadly sex sells) and consisted of Nicky Berry (Growing Berries), Grace Alyssa (Will She Love Paris) and Lilian Lau (Lil + Destinations). I thank all three of them for their generous reviews of THATLou and THATd’Or, respectively. All three are linked in parenthetically here.

Dali Llamas

Team Dali Lama: Katie Knowles, Liz Mockapetris and Ahnnie (apologies for my spelling) were surreally peaceful as they trekked for their treasure.

AFMO's Kristina Tencic and THAT Daisy de Plume

AFMO’s Kristina Tencic and THAT’s Daisy de Plume

And then a quick snap of Team AFMO THATd’Or, which a wandering tourist took of us as we patrolled the gorgeous halls of the Musée d’Orsay (prowling for cheaters), and having fun chatting. It was an all-round great evening, hopefully to be repeated!

In the coming days more photos of the night’s event will be uploaded on the AFMO website as well as on our respective AFMO and THATLou Facebook pages.