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.

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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 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

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.

Règles  

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

J’Adore THATd’Or

J'Adore THATd'Or !!

I hope they sing J’Adore THATd’Or !!

You can’t really tell, but the photo in this RIP-ROARINGLY EXCITING INVITATION is of a gorgeous Piet Mondrian landscape (credited below) that has a white plume of steam (train) defining the horizon. It’s much better in person, so I guess you’re just going to have to sign up for the very first THATd’Or… Dope! was that a hint that it just might be included?

Good news for non-AFMO AVANT Garde members – you get free entry to the Musee d’Orsay if you RSVP prior to Wednesday 23 January:

Please click here to RSVP to the real invitation…

And apologies for all of the bold, caps and itals, but I’m clearly over the moon that the American Friends of the Musee d’Orsay (AFMO)’s AVANT Garde Young Patrons have invited me to cross the Seine. A very special thanks to Sarah Miller Benichou, Kristina Tencic and Mary Kay, of Out and About in Paris (who’s very suggestion it was to contact Sarah!).

More to come on this front, in the fortnight leading up to the Thursday 31 January THATd’Or!!

Photo credit: Piet Mondrian, Polder landscape with a train and a small windmill on the horizon, 1907 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski, 2013 American Friends Musee d’Orsay, All rights reserved.

3 Kings Day THATLou!

Bernardino Luini's Adoration of the Magi, 1520-25, Louvre

Bernardino Luini’s Adoration of the Magi, 1520-25, au Louvre (from Wikipedia)

Today is the eve of Epiphany, 6 January! A day of merrymaking, the 12th Day of Christmas has more than 12 drummers drumming (which apparently refers to the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle’s creed, within the Christmas carol)… It has Three Kings visiting baby Christ in Bethlehem; Melchior, Gaspar (sometimes known as Caspar) and Balthazar were the Magi or Three Wise Men representing Europe, Arabia and Africa. They arrived on horse, camel and elephant and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, respectively. Balthazar is one of my favourite names – in fact I used to be a regular at a Keith McNally resto in NY by the same name just as an excuse to enunciate it.

Different cultures give Three Kings Day different rituals. Argentina (and most other Spanish-speaking countries) on the eve of El Día de los Reyes has children polish their shoes and leave them outside their door filled with grass or hay, a bowl of water next to them. The morning of 6 Jan, the shoes are filled with gifts and the bowl’s empty (the camels having eaten the hay and drunk the water). Why shoes, I’m not sure (but why Christmas stockings for us? Must look it up). The French, true to their tummies, have a frangipane-filled Galettes des Rois (almond-paste filled cake that has a little figurine known as la fève (originally a broad bean, or fève). Whoever gets the slice of cake with the fève is king for the day. The president at the Elysée Palace has a Galette des Rois that’s more than a meter in diameter, but it’s without a fève, because it wouldn’t be very fitting to find a King in the presidential palace of the Republic, now would it? In the States Three Kings Day is when you’re supposed to exchange your gifts (though we’ve moved this forward to the Hallmark date of 25 Dec) and is also the day you take down your Christmas tree and decorations.

But we’re getting side tracked here – what is the single most important thing that’s happening in France for the 2013 Three Kings Day? No it’s not that meter-wide, feve-less gâteau at the Elysée, pshah! It’s the Kings + Leaders THATLou, of course! And what is this post devoted to, but one of the treasures that our hunters will be chasing after. Lucky are those that are reading these words, because otherwise they wouldn’t know that Bernardino Luini (1480/82 – 1532)’s fine Adoration of the Magi fresco (seen above) can be found in the Duchatel Room (seen below):

Duchatel Room, Denon, 1st Floor, Room 2 (taken from the Atlas database)

Duchatel Room, Denon, 1st Floor, Room 2 (taken from the Louvre Atlas database)

Not a lot is known about Luini, other than that he moved to Milano in 1500 from his small town near Lago Maggiore and that in Milano he was heavily influenced by Leonardo, with whom he worked. One of his signatures is graceful female figures with elongated eyes, which Vladimir Nabokov called “Luiniesque” in La Venezia (1924).

The Duchatel Room (found on the 1st floor of the Denon Wing, off of the Italian Gallery), has been the subject of a handful of interesting articles (This 1915 article seems to be the most comprehensive). The collection was left to the Louvre together, and included the Fra Angelico crucifixion (seen in the photo) as well as two Ingres.

The hunters will get a bit more about the Luini Adoration of the Magi tomorrow (a painting which would also be suitable for a Structure + Space THATLou, so organised is the architecture in the quiet scene). Though not half so well known as Georges de La Tour’s Adoration of the Shepherds, I think it’s twice as attractive!