Friday, March 5, 2010
Everyone who comes to Paris wants to hit the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, and the Pompidou. After that, there are still lots more choices (150 in all, I'm told) but just what qualifies as numbers 4 through 10 is a pretty subjective business. Still I'm willing to bet that of all the smaller museums in town, the Musée Rodin is a favorite of many visitors. And with good reason! The work is familiar yet still interesting, the location central, and the setting divine. Go for the special exhibitions, the permanent collection, or chuck the indoors and pay the 1 euro entry for the gardens, and you will not be disappointed.
The building dates from the early 18th century and had a long history of aristocratic tenants before the Revolution, and students and artists after, including Isadora Duncan, Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse, and of course M. Rodin. The rooms, which are badly in need of a major updating, are filled with Rodin's own work (finished and in draft form) as well as pieces by other artists he collected for himself. The process of creating bronzes is complicated but the curators have assembled models to explain the different steps in the process.
Then there are the lovely gardens, dotted with masterpieces like The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, The Burghers of Calais, and a controversial portrait of Balzac. It was too cold this week to linger there but I know I'll be back.
Pondering the universe or what's for lunch?