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.


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 www.thatlou.com 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 www.THATLou.com 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 www.thatdor.com which will be launched simultaneously.

C - 2 ' triangular fountain from above

Gourmanding Giants

Food Louvers Susan Feess, Wan Yan + Tara Byrne posing as the Smokers + Drinkers above, photo by James Feess

Food Louvers Susan Feess, Wan Yan + Tara Byrne posing as 17th Century Dutch ‘Smokers + Drinkers’ above, photo by James Feess

Creativity was abounding while the Foodies in France went Treasure Hunting. There were three separate prizes — well, really there was only one special prize, which was a delectable gift certificate to Alisa Morov’s Sweet Pea Baking (and that went to the team who actually won the hunt), but there were three honourable, peerless, shall we call them inimitable categories of excellence and with each category creativity was abounding! While they were off gathering their treasure, each of the 7 teams thought of names for themselves (as listed below), additionally there was a twitter prize (which brought about some of the funniest tweets I’ve ever come across, thanks to Erin Czarra) and lastly, if you  happened to go for the above Simon de Vos 17th Century Smokers and Drinkers painting, hefty bonus points were given you for a limerick on the subject of debauchery.

Perfectly Sweet Paris posing drunken for da bonus points in front of 15th C Italian Bacchnalian Ewers

Perfectly Sweet Paris posing drunken for da big bonus points in front of 15th C Italian Bacchanalian Ewers

The second prize was for the team with the most creative name. This was voted  democratically during our delish and debauched Tuileries picnic, with one of the two lovely Sweet Peas, Margaux, tallying the score:

Drunken Foodgasm – The team who won the tweet prize, due to their brilliant Cat + Mouse, cloak + dagger creativity. Penned so to speak by Erin Czarra of EC in Paris, Drunken Foodgasm partners-in-crime were Sarah Ouadah + Hélène Guinaudeau. They won Louvre Pens to balance their tweeting prowess — and exercise their hand muscles opposed to their phone tapping abilities!

Food Louvers – winners of the Team Name Prize (a Delacroix puzzle). With their photo above and their limerick below, a warm congrats to Tara Byrne and Wan Yan, of Cook’N With Class, and James and Susan Feess, of Feels Like Home in Paris

Four Graces (who won the actual Food + Wine THATLou, so they get a whole paragraph below).

Gorgon Girls – in direct reference to the Gorgon post, their guess for the bonus points was noble as they guessed the question was related to the myth of Medusa and her immortal Gorgon sisters. The GGs contributed a great limerick, as well (which sadly I neglected to copy in the dark of the picnic). A big congrats to Randa Akhras, Cori McAfee and Aimee Holmes

Louvre Lushes – One of two 5-person teams (the larger the team the harder to navigate), the Lushes did admirably with the Norman co-hosts Jenny Beaumont and Jennifer Greco, of Chez Loulou France, joined by Lindsey Tramuta of Lost in Cheeseland, Christi Garcia and Jane whose Marais cooking school La Cuisine Paris overlooks the banks of the Seine.

Perfectly Sweet Paris – Their adorable name was coined in an April Kids THATLou, when masterminds Gail Boisclair (of Perfectly Paris) + Alisa Morov (of Sweet Pea Baking) joined forces with their daughters. Sweet Peas Maia + Margaux were back, but one small tweak was Xavier Macarrilla replaced Yasmin, Gail’s cheshire-cat smiling daughter (as seen here).

Smoking Monkeys and The Old Masters – whose team consisted of Abby Gordon of Paris Weekender, Steve Rhinds of Bear With a Wooden Spoon and Adele Maze, who’s visiting Paris for 5 weeks.  Their name got a good chortle to our votes

Drunken Foodgasm, Winners of the most creative (+ plentiful) tweets, who claimed they'd be dreaming of Greek pots all night

Drunken Foodgasm, Winners of the most creative (+ plentiful) tweets, who claimed they’d be dreaming of Greek pots all night. Hélène Guinaudeau, Erin Czarra + Sarah Ouadah

The following debauched limericks were written on the go:

Team Perfectly Sweet Paris

There once were some guys who were Dutch
And we knew that they drank way too much!
Debauchery is fine
and can boggle the mind
as long as you don’t go home with a crutch.

The Food Louvers:

There once was a dame called Delia,
Debauched and divine
She swigged lots of wine
Then picked up a dude
who liked all her moves
And gave her a spin in the Louvre!

Perfectly Sweet Paris's Margaux, Maia, Xavier Macarrilla and Gail Boisclair, racking up bonus pts by capturing all 4 corners of a mammoth Fr Feasting painting

Perfectly Sweet Paris’s Margaux, Maia, Xavier Macarrilla and Gail Boisclair, racking up bonus pts by capturing all 4 corners of a mammoth Fr Feasting painting

Last but not least, a huge congratulations to the Four Graces whose score broke the THATLou record! Their secret weapon was La Belle in France‘s Stephanie Elle, whose art history degree (and current art business masters) paid off in navigating the Graces through 65,000m of Louvre. Another of the Graces Margaux Beaulieu, was no doubt quick to pick up bonus points as she’s been helping THATLou out this summer (Margaux’s opinions + advice are bar-none what run the company. I will be very happy for her when she lands the perfect Event Planning job (please be in touch if you know of an opening), but when this happens THATLou’s productivity will be enormously depleted). Then there was a glamourous Nordic half of the Graces representing 7 Jades (For an interview of me that 7 Jades posted click here).

Chez Loulou's gorgeous night shot of the Louvre, taken from our picnic on the grass of the Tuileries

Chez Loulou‘s gorgeous night shot of the Louvre, taken from our delicious Foodies in France picnic on the grass of the Tuileries

Night Hunting au Louvre!

Louvre at night, from Michael Soriano AIA on pinterest

The Louvre at night, from Michael Soriano AIA on pinterest

Dear Foodies in France,

I really can’t wait for our Food + Wine treasure hunt tonight!! Just some last minute thoughts and reminders before we meet up at 7.45… If you’re having trouble getting there, please do give me a ring on 06 86 13 32 12. Once we’ve met I’ll dole out the hunts, remind you of the rules (no running, no separating, no external help – internet, guards, no calling granny), and off you’ll set for the greatest treasure Paris has to offer – food, wine and art in one!

Everyone finds their own speed during the hunt, but just a quick observation – generally each person’s strength ends up shining through; The roles involve a strategiser / navigator who’s good with the map, someone with an eagle’s eye for fine print (to pick up the bonus points within the text), a spotter who’s quick to scan for the treasure within a room once in the right area, and the herder or responsible one keeping their eye on the clock and making sure everyone stays together and doesn’t run, etc. While all of this is going on, hopefully each team will come up with a clever name for themselves, because once we’ve all regrouped there’ll be a small contest of who has the best team name.

Here’s where we’re meeting – the NW pillar in the sunken main entrance, just next to IM Pei’s spiral staircase:

We'll meet at the pilar here, just next to IM Pei's Spiral, by Weekend in Paris

Since it’s a Wed night, hopefully there won’t be so many people, photo by Weekend in Paris

As seen from below, taken from www.bbc.com's World's Top 10 Stairs

As seen from below, taken from http://www.bbc.com’s World’s Top 10 Stairs

To avoid entry lines I recommend using either the subterrannean entrance du Caroussel (99 rue de Rivoli) or the Porte des Lions entrance, which is on the wing running along the Seine, which jets out into the Tuileries. Then you have to walk 10 or 15 minutes through the Italian gallerie section of Denon to get to the main entrance (following the Sortie signs), but it’s more pleasant than waiting stationary.

Once we’ve all regathered from the hunt we have the special Foodie in France treats!  The famous, much-awaited THATLou prize will be given by Alisa Morov, of Sweet Pea Baking (and the Very Swell Project)!  And a delicious picnic with Sweet Pea sweet and savoury nibbles as well as ciders and Camemberts and delicious Norman treats, thanks to Jenny Greco, of Chez Loulou and Jenny Beaumont! Over some nibbles and a glass we’ll get to meet the competition, talk general smack about each other’s teams and vote on the second prize of whose team name is the snappiest!

Then out come the treats! www.marketingpilgrim.com

There will be representatives from 7Jades, Cook’N With Class, E.C. in Paris blog, La Belle in France blog, La Cuisine ParisLola’s Cookies, Lost in Cheeseland blog, Paris Weekender, Perfectly Paris, Feels Like Home in Paris and plenty others, but I’m afraid I’m not up to speed on whether everyone included has a business / blog. Please do feel free to help me edit this in the comments box below.

Really look forward to meeting everyone!
Kind regards,


The Cross-Purpose Greek Pot

The Louvre Greek and Roman Antiquities, from louvre.fr

The Louvre Greek and Roman Antiquities, from louvre.fr

Ok, enough horsing around here, we’re going to cut strait to the chase and give you a sample, a teaser, a piece of the hunt! Which THATLou, you ask? Well, the below morsel is particularly great because it could fit into any number of near-future hunts.

Meet the Cross-Purpose Greek Pot, The Dinos by the Gorgon Painter…

There’s the Food + Wine hunt that we’re getting revved for. On the evening of Wednesday 8 August Alisa Morov (Sweet Pea Baking), Jenny Greco (ChezLoulou) and Jenny Beaumont are co-hosting a Foodies in France THATlou that is shaping up nicely. Where would you find a Dinos other than at a FEAST that the Greeks lingered over for ages (on this note there may just be another hint for the Foodies in France hunters in the very word feast).

As for the réntrée, there are two THATLous that this Dinos would be perfect for — as the previous Gorgon post discussed, the very word the Greeks gave these ghoulish creatures means Horrible or Terrible. Terribly appropriate for the Best of Bestiary THATLou on Sunday 2 September, meeting at 2.30 pm. Bestiary has been touched on here and there in past blog posts with Darius the Great’s wonderful Frieze of Griffins, and those gentle protecting Lamassus.

Then there’s the Liquid Louvre THATLou that I’m all excited about for 52 Martinis members. That’s on the evening of Wednesday 5 September (the invitation of which is on Forest Collins’s meet up group here). Of course a Dinos fits in there perfectly, to ground the floating debauched bacchuses from flying about.

Anyway, enough chatter from me. Here’s your hint, take it and run for the THATLou prize!


Cerveteri (from Athens, Greece), Circa 580 BC

Clay, H 93cm

A Dinos was used to mix water and wine – and stood on a tall stand so the servants didn’t have to stoop during the long banquets that Dinoses were made for (The Greeks drank a lot of wine, but always diluted). This early Attic Dinos is of particular importance because it gave the Gorgon Painter his name – referring to the scene on one side of the pot with Perseus being chased by the Goggle-Eyed Gorgons, after he murdered their sister Medusa, shown collapsing after Perseus lopped off her head: Death taking hold of her before our very eyes. The Gorgon Painter is one of the earliest masters of the Black Figure technique and a pioneer of the Attic tradition of figurative decoration on pottery. There is a convergence of influences on this Dinos – among the series of bands of friezes with alternating plant motifs and animals, including bestiary such as sphinxes and mermaids there are also male figures, a reference to the Oriental tradition of the Master of Animals.


Sully, 1st Fl, Salle des Sept Cheminees, Room 74

Attic Black-Figured Dinos, by the Gorgon Painter, Louvre.fr
Attic Black-Figured Dinos, by the Gorgon Painter, Louvre.fr

This is the only vase by the Gorgon Painter – who was prolific – to depict a complex narrative, but also the first Attic vase to do so at all… Don’t nod off — this is interesting enough stuff folks, to merit some bonus points!

For a background on Athenian red and black-figure vase painting the Met has a summary here and the British Museum has a page here (on how they were made). As for their shapes, Wikipedia has a wonderful collection of photographs with their names – which if you click on the names will of course lead you to their purpose. Click here for that visit.

Wild Things

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, who died at 83 this past May. For the NY Times obituary, where this image was taken from, see footnote at bottom

 When you think of the Wild Things of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are you might as well think of Gorgons. As any American who grew up since it was published in 1963 will remember Max was sent to bed without his supper because he roared his terrible roar and gnashed his terrible teeth and screamed his terrible scream too wildly. A forest grows in his room and he’s transported by sea to where the Wild Things live, but Max cows them easily, and becomes the King of All Wild Things by staring them down, unblinking as he holds their yellow eyes steady. Perhaps because Sendak had a soft side, or perhaps because children’s book publishers wouldn’t have permitted it, but Max doesn’t behead The Wild Things as Perseus did their predecessor, nor does he make the Wild Things as terrifying as Gorgons. He couldn’t have.

The very word Gorgon means Dreadful or Terrible in Greek.  They were popular in Greek mythology – if you looked them in the eye you’d turn to stone. Perseus famously outsmarted the most famous of the Gorgons, Medusa, by looking at her in the reflection of his shield, and then beheading her serpent-haired head. Sadly for her, Medusa was not immortal as her two Gorgon sisters Stheno and Euryale were.  They were said to be the daughters of the sea God Phorcys and his sister-wife Ceto (a sea monster).

Red-figured cup by Douris, 480-470 BC, Cerveteri, Etruria now in the Vatican Museum. The python is regurgitating Jason (gross, eh?!?), the Golden Fleece hangs from a branch while Athena looks on with he aegis bearing the Gorgon and helmut with winged lioness, www.wikipedia.com
Red-figured cup by Douris, 480-470 BC, Cerveteri, Etruria now in the Vatican Museum. The python is regurgitating Jason (gross, eh?!?), the Golden Fleece hangs from a branch while Athena looks on with he aegis bearing the Gorgon and helmut with winged lioness, http://www.wikipedia.com

Often they were depicted as having fangs and skin of a serpent, and hair made of poisonous snakes.  Sometimes they had wings of gold, brazen claws, tusks of a boar.  Lionesses and sphinxes are often associated with them, and generally they were used in architecture to protect the building – for instance temples protecting the oldest of oracles (the oldest stone pediment in Greece, dated from 600 BC, is from the Temple of Artemis at Corfu and what is in the primary location, smack dab in the middle of the pediment? A Dreadful Gorgon of course).

Disk Fibula Gorgoneion Bronze with repoussé decoration, Boeotian production under Corinthian influence, second half of the 6th century BC. From Asia Minor, Louvre www.wikipedia.com

Disk Fibula Gorgoneion Bronze with repoussé decoration, Boeotian production under Corinthian influence, second half of the 6th century BC. From Asia Minor, at the Louvre www.wikipedia.com

So why do I linger on Gorgons? Perhaps because, apart from protecting temples and installed pretectively in architecture, Gorgons frequently appear in Greek pottery….  Greek Pots could very well figure in a good Food and Wine THATLou, which just happens to be coming up**. Likewise Gorgons would be prime suspects for a Bestiary THATLou, which remains unscheduled as such but is bound to pop up sooner or later. For instance this Gorgon Pot found in the Sully wing would be a great cross-purpose pot for both the Food+Wine THATLou as well as a Bestiary hunt, no?

Gorgon Painter Dinos, taken from Google Images

Gorgon Painter Dinos, taken from Google Images

What makes it so special is that it is one of the first pots to have a continuous narration (where one piece of art depicts the story at different stages) of Perseus’s story, where he’s running from Medusa’s Gorgon sisters (as seen below). The pot scene is so famous that history named the painter the Gorgon Painter, though he of course did many other pots in the 6th century BC.

Gorgon Painter Dinos, 580 BC, taken from Wikipedia

Gorgon Painter Dinos, 580 BC, taken from Wikipedia

More on all these topics – Gorgons, Food+ Wine THATLou, Bestiary, Greek Pots – soon. For now I’ll leave you with a hyperlink to Maurice Sendak’s obituary in the NY Times from this past May.


The Food + Wine THATLou is at 7 PM on Wednesday 8 August and will be co-hosted with Alisa Morov, of Sweet Pea Paris, Jennifer Greco of Chez Loulou and Jenny Beaumont. More on this Foodies in France bonanza soon, of course!