Saturday, July 05, 2014

Musée Rodin

During our last week in Paris, Max and I went to the Musée Rodin. It's one of my favorite places in the city, and I hadn't been there yet! Max grabbed an umbrella as we were leaving, and it was a good thing because we ended up needing it.

It's funny, you can't tell in this picture, but it was raining buckets. That's probably the only reason The Thinker wasn't surrounded by people.

Max had read that the beauty of The Thinker is that his pondering is evident not only in his pose but in the details - in the muscles in his back; that his whole body is straining with the weight of his struggles. I studied it more carefully this time and had to agree.

The Cathedral is probably my favorite of his works. I think Rodin made amazing hands and this one especially moves me.

A museum guard was sitting on the sill of an open window, so there was no getting a picture without people. Still, since it was positively steamy in there, I couldn't blame him, and in fact was very pleased that he had the window open!

The Kiss is another favorite. When you see it from the front, it looks like the couple is sitting on the stone, but when you see it from behind, you can see them emerging from the stone. Just another reminder of the amazing work that sculptors do. 

(Of course, there were 3 groups of kids on field trips!)

This is a bust that Rodin did of Victor Hugo. He inscribed "To the Illustrious Master" on it.

I hadn't seen this painting before - a rendering of The Thinker by Munch (from Rodin's personal art collection).

I think it's interesting that they call preliminary works by sculptors "sketches." Here, sketches of hands and of Balzac.

I can't remember what this one is called, but it's a hand emerging from a grave.

We had decided to go inside the museum first and hope that the rain would abate, but when we went back to the gardens, it was raining even harder! I was disappointed because I love wandering through the gardens.

Still, I had to go see The Burghers of Calais.

Again, Max had read about it and what he told me helped me to gain a greater appreciation of the work.

From Wikipedia:
England's Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crécy, laid siege to Calais, while Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege, and starvation eventually forced the city to parley for surrender.
Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de Saint Pierre, volunteered first, and five other burghers joined with him.[2]Saint Pierre led this envoy of volunteers to the city gates. It was this moment, and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death that Rodin captured in his sculpture, scaled somewhat larger than life.
Although the burghers expected to be executed, their lives were spared by the intervention of England's queen, Philippa of Hainault, who persuaded her husband to exercise mercy by claiming that their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child.
Rodin's design was controversial. The public had a lack of appreciation for it because it didn't have "overtly heroic antique references" which were considered integral to public sculpture.[4] It was not a pyramidal arrangement and contained no allegorical figures. It was intended to be placed at ground level, rather than on a pedestal. The burghers were not presented in a positive image of glory; instead, they display "pain, anguish and fatalism". To Rodin, this was nevertheless heroic, the heroism of self-sacrifice.[5]
In 1895 the monument was installed in Calais on a large pedestal in front of a Parc Richelieu, a public park, contrary to the sculptor's wishes, who wanted contemporary townsfolk to "almost bump into" the figures and feel solidarity with them. Only later was his vision realised, as in 1926 the sculpture was moved in front of the newly completed town hall of Calais, where it rests on a much lower base.

La Porte de l'Enfer (The Gates of Hell) - based on Dante's Inferno. Rodin worked on it on and off for 37 years!

This is one of my favorite views. Even if that tree does need a haircut...

The museum was hosting an exhibit comparing Mapplethorpe works with Rodin works. You wouldn't think that would work, but it was actually quite effective. I didn't take any photos there, for obvious reasons :).

Pokemon store

Toward the end of our visit, it became harder and harder to lure Eva out of the apartment. I read about a Pokemon pop-up store and gallery, and figured it would be just the thing to do it. Success!

We saw this tile art of the Mona Lisa on our way. Usually we see space invaders or Pac Man figures. This one tickled me with its originality.
We passed by the Bourse (financial center). I realized that this is an area I rarely see.

I don't know why I was surprised, but we had to wait in line for about 25 minutes to get in. And it was raining.

I only convinced her to pose with the giant inflatable Pokemon by telling her that Rose and Jacob, her fellow Pokemon-obsessed friends, would appreciate it. She agreed to do it for Rose and Jacob.

I thought the store/gallery ended up being pretty stupid, since they were 100% sold out of all their merchandise and the gallery was tiny, but Eva didn't seem disappointed.

The gallery was in the basement, where you'd think it might be cooler. Instead, it was like a sauna. I lasted for about five minutes and then had to escape to the upstairs level where at least there was a fan.

There was a wall where visitors' Pokemon drawings were posted. As you can see, Pikachu was by far the most popular. Eva scoffed at that.

I found it interesting that there were far more adults than children visiting. Mostly young adults, but older ones, too. I guess you never outgrow your love of Pokemon.

Eva got to work doing her own non-Pikachu drawings. Lucas was thrilled.

But then Max and Lucas decided to color one to pass the time.

Her masterpieces: signed, dated, and left for the wall of fame.

On our way home, I took one of my favorite photos from our time in Paris, which made it all worth it for me. That and the fact that we all made it out of the apartment!

Friday, July 04, 2014


One day while the boys were off doing something else, I took Eva to the aquarium at Porte Dorée. I think it has changed since the last time we were there. Either that or I had forgotten, because it was kind of lame. Still, it was a mother/daughter date and Eva was happy, so I called it good. (Also, it only cost 7 euros for the two of us.)

I am still kind of mystified about how palm trees can flourish in Paris.

Alligator habitat. They have two baby albino alligators, but they were camera shy.

baby jellies!

Who knew that piranhas had gold glitter? Is that to make them look less threatening?

There was a room with incredible photography of sea life.

She smiled! For a picture!!

We were so hot on our walk back to the metro that we decided we needed a cold drink. Not a European cold drink (cool-ish), a truly cold drink. So we stopped in to McDonald's, where I knew we could get that Parisian rarity: ICE. Here, a comparison to show the largest drink size. Not that much bigger than a tiny juice box. It cost the equivalent of $3.78. Worth it that day.

That evening, I took Lisa to the tourist shops near Notre Dame so she could buy some more gifts.

Her deliberations were rather lengthy (i.e., closing out three shops in a row), so I wandered a bit to take photos.

Hôtel de Ville

A lovely ending to the day.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Musée Marmottan

On the way to the Musée Marmottan, you pass this statue of La Fontaine and one of his fables - the fox and the crow - come to life. Well, not really to life, of course. More of a visual representation. I love it.

We had to wait in line for half an hour. I have never seen a line at this museum before! I swear, Paris was just more crowded this time around, to my dismay.

This small museum was created in a private residence. I love it when you can see art in a location where the surroundings themselves are beautiful as well.

quite a lovely hallway

This cracked us up because it was entitled "Fear of the Dog." What a fearsome creature!

I took this photo for my mom. Who knew they had pink animal print fabric in the 19th century?

I am always drawn to this kind of translucent floor/ceiling where you can see people walking around.

I am partial to boy cellists.

This trompe l'oeil stole my heart.

A work of Caillebotte, an artist I admire.

The whole basement is dedicated to works by Monet, largely his later works. I read on the placard that this was a painting of his home in Giverny. I had to back up to the other side of the room to see it! How do you paint something close up that you have to back up to see properly? It's mystifying.

I love this version of the Japanese bridge. It was one of Lucas's favorites as well. (I never thought Lucas would be having favorite paintings! Success.)

Enjoying the cool walk through Paris's tree-lined streets.

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