July 7 was our last day in Paris and we decided to visit the Musée d’Orsay! It took about an hour just to make it through the front doors, but once we were inside we got our tickets in less than 5 minutes. But oh my, was it ever busy! Some rooms I was squeezing between people, ducking under people’s arms, swerving around children, and shuffling here and there to find the best spot to stand (something at which I’ve become somewhat of an expert). I managed to get some pretty great pictures this way, but at times it was too chaotic to make an attempt.
We did meet some Americans from Vermont, Linda and Steve, who made waiting in line a breeze. They even met up with us later in the museum! Their strategy was to start at the top and work their way down, where as we started at the bottom and worked our way up – we met happily in the middle before saying our goodbyes. It’s always nice meeting friendly people during our outings!
Overall I really liked the museum. In general, I really love museums and paintings. They can be mind-boggling, though-provoking, and unintentionally hilarious (you’ll see). But it was hard to really enjoy it fully when there were so many people. People stepped on my toes, elbowed my ribs, hit me in the face with their backpacks, and at one point, I was jabbed in the stomach with a pencil (it really hurt).
I’m not going to lie, I was tired and cranky at the end of the day. I recommend visiting Paris outside of the June – August months, if you can. You’ll enjoy it far more!
A couple of sculptures from The Celebrities of Juste Milieu collection.
I really love the above painting, and can understand why it received such critical acclaim in 1849. This was part of the realist collection at the museum. It’s called Ploughing in Nevers by Rosa Bonheur.
Okay, so the only reason I took a picture of the above portrait is because when I saw it, I immediately thought of Eva Pearce and was totally freaked out. If you watch Murdoch Mysteries, you know who I’m talking about! Seriously though, does she not look exactly like Eva Pearce?
Summary Execution under the Moorish Kings of Grenada by Henri Regnault. I thought this painting was pretty intense. The artist died in 1871 – only a year after he finished this painting – during the Franco-Prussian war. He was only 28 years old!
I have no idea what the above painting is depicting. I took it because I thought it looked like a really grumpy – and naked – Sailor Mars. You see it too, right?
Pilgrims Going to Mecca by Léon Belly. A really fantastic painting. It’s also quite a large painting – it had its very own wall. I found myself drawn to the character in the painting with a close-up below. I’m not sure why, but for me he’s entirely the focal point.
Also, here’s an interesting tidbit about the painting as quoted from the museum’s website:
In this painting, the artist introduces a very discreet ecumenical dimension to his work. On the left, he portrays a group of three people: a man walking alongside a woman and her child on a donkey. It is a striking reference to the widely used motif in painting, of the “flight to Egypt” of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Through this association, Belly is indicating his commitment to the idea that, beyond the divisions, there exists a universal religion, one faith and one God.
I really loved the emotion captured in the painting above. This isn’t the whole painting by any means – I just wanted a close-up of these faces. This is Jean-Paul Laurens’ The Excommunication of Robert the Pious. To see the entire painting, click here.
I thought this was a very interesting painting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the character of Death depicted as a woman.
Despite the seemingly straight face of Death, I feel like there’s a lot of emotion here. And in the young woman below as well.
I also have no idea what the above picture is depicting. I whispered to David, after seeing this portrait and laughing to myself, “Look, it’s the world’s first selfie!”
I really loved this painting. The technique is pretty amazing – these next few paintings have a lot of texture and were created by using a series of dots. These paintings are examples of Neo-impressionism.
One of the most famous examples of Neo-impressionism – Beach at Heist by Georges Lemmen.
From the museum website’s description of the painting:
The only sign of human life in this nocturnal landscape is the abandoned boat, painted in purple strokes against a background dominated by yellow and orange. The exacerbation of the colours and synthetic forms was part of the development of the Symbolist movement which opened a new era in the Franco-Belgian art community.
This painting – Vincent van Gogh’s famous self-portrait – had the most people surrounding it. I had to use my size to my advantage to be able to squeeze my way to the front! I managed to get some great shots, though. I wasn’t able to see Starry Night, I must have missed it entirely, the painting for which he is perhaps best known. These next several paintings are by Vincent van Gogh. Although I don’t find his paintings the most beautiful, I do really love the texture, if that makes sense. See the close-up below and you’ll see what I mean.
Van Gogh’s, The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise
Van Gogh’s The Siesta. This painting was actually completed while he was confined to a mental institution (he admitted himself) and the composition is taken from a drawing by Millet for Four Moments in the Day. Van Gogh actually created copies of several of his favourite artist’s paintings. You can see a number of them in this Wikipedia article.
Van Gogh’s Thatched Cottages at Cordeville.
I took a picture of the description of this painting and then realized, after I was going through my pictures at home, that the description was for a different painting.* I’m not sure what this is depicting, but I was taken by the emotion in this painting.
Also, I’m not going to lie – I immediately thought that this guy looked like Orlando Bloom. He does, doesn’t he?!
This painting depicts a knight after having been defeated at a battle. I thought it was quite lovely because despite the knight’s – and horse’s – posture while he drags his flag behind him, he’s walking through a beautiful field of flowers, which suggests hope (at least to me!).
I’m not a huge fan of Monet, but this was one of his paintings that I liked.
Maybe I liked this one best because I was sweating so much…
The view from the terrace on the fifth floor of the museum. There was a restaurant up top as well and people were waiting in line for hours just to eat over-priced sandwiches and soups. I don’t understand.
So that was our last day in Paris! I have tons more pictures from the museum, but these are the ones that I liked best.
We had a few other adventures in Paris not shared on the blog – including a stroll down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and a visit to the Arc de Triomphe, strolls around graveyards, almost daily visits to the butcher and baker, and days relaxing at home playing games. David and I had a great time in Paris, but we were ready to move on to the second part of our journey – in Den Haag!
Stay tuned for details of our train trip and first days in the Netherlands!
*My Mom e-mailed me about this painting after I posted this blog, and here’s what she had to say –
It is by Swiss artist Eugène Burnand, painted at the end of the 19th century. Peter and John are rushing towards the empty tomb on Easter morning. If you click the picture to see an enlargement, notice the facial expressions, especially the eyes.