Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shhhh! Artist at Work

T.S. Eliot said that April was the cruelest month, but in Paris, January wins it hands down.  But if you're searching for a silver lining, here's a tip.  January is the one month out of the year when really no one is in the Louvre.  Well maybe over by the Mona Lisa, there's probably a group of Japanese tourists with cameras at the ready.  But elsewhere, the entrance lines are short, the crowds are thin, and the galleries are quiet.

When I visited last week, I happened upon this gentleman, beret, scarf, and all, hard at work in the Galerie de Marie de Médicis in the Richelieu wing.  The gallery displays 24 paintings by Rubens, executed at the command of Marie de Médicis for her residence, the Palais du Luxembourg.  It's an over the top tribute to the dowager queen, widow of Henri IV and regent for her son, Louis XIII.   Everything about it is in technicolor and screams, "Me!  I was the greatest queen that France has ever known."  You have to see it to believe it.

As interested as I was in Rubens' paintings, I kept circling back around the gallery to see what this fellow was up to.  And for once, he wasn't studiously copying what was before him.  Instead his painting (and perhaps you can click on the image above to enlarge it) depicted the entire cycle with many of the painted figures exiting from their frames to interact with museum visitors.  An illustration for a children's book, perhaps.  Fanciful, of course.  Charming, definitely. 

Ah January.  Perhaps you're okay after all.


MJ said...

Thanks for reminding me that January isn't all dreariness. I love what the beret man is doing -- so much more interesting and fanciful than the "copiers" you usually see. Maybe it's time for another visit to the Louvre. Have a good day, Anne!

Anonymous said...

Found your blog a few days ago and I love it! Have read through a few pages worth of posts and added you to my rss feeder.
A little envious of your life in Paris though, looks amazing!

Anne said...

MJ: If you don't laugh, you will cry. Better to laugh. Put Miss Coco in the stroller and go....while Lucien is in school, natch.

anneblabbers: Thanks for stopping in; always room for another "Anne with an e" here!

Jean(ne) in MN said...

Wonderful picture of the artist, and I wonder how he got all his equipment in there. My best visit was in November, spent all afternoon alone with the Egyptians until school groups came in. I eavesdropped on the teachers' lessons. The Best!

Virginia said...

Oh I love this photograph and his painting as well. I hope it will be an illo for a children's book one day.
And I LOL at your remarks about the tourists with cameras. They make me insane. You can hardly enjoy the lovely art for all of that! We intended to visit the Louvre again on this last trip but alas never got there.

Starman said...

I'm so envious of painters.

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