Monday, May 2, 2011

Things to see in the Louvre that are not the Mona Lisa: Some Sculptures

There is a wealth of things to see in the Louvre that are not the Mona Lisa. There are innumerable beautiful sculptures, enough to drive you mad. One could spend a hundred days staring at each of a hundred statues, and not have exhausted the statues worth spending a day staring at them, and learning everything one can about them.

One of my favorites, I actually can't find a picture of, it is very sad. It is an early middle ages statue, on the opposite wall of this statue:

There is a similarity in the grotesque nature of the statues, but the one I most admire is a dark stone, reddish brown, meant to adorn a tomb and remind those who might dally around the church of mortality and death. At first glance, the pose is almost sensual. A tall, lean figure draws his or her robe apart from the middle, like curtains on a day. On closer inspection, we find that maggots are crawling from the belly, the ribs are showing, and what we thought at first glance was a broad smile is the grin of a skull. Creepiest statue.

There are other prettier sculptures. Cupid and Psyche lived up to the press. The Venus Di Milo... less so.  This is one of my absolute favorites. Mars Sitting, or "Mars Assis" The image is overlit to show you the detail. His darkness in person diminishes none of the detail. He is the model of a "dark visage pondering morbidity." He sits in the Grand Gallery.

This is, of course, only one of the innumerable works. If you wish to discover them at more leisure than I had, I highly recommend the Louvre website:

Though not as complete or detailed as the Google Arts Project website, it is nonetheless a great way to see a fair bit.

Also, I seem to have an affinity for sculptures made of two different stones:

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