Wednesday, 16 December 2015

From Paris with love

As mentioned previously, mom, Yong and I went on a Western Europe tour in November and we were in central Paris two days after the deadliest attack of France since World War 2. Paris was virtually empty and all the famous tourist attractions were closed. Despite that, The Louvre is just too hard to resist. For Yong, I knew he just want to be there, even it is just viewing the glass pyramids otherwise the trip will be very incomplete. It is akin to visiting London without seeing the Tower Bridge or Sydney without the Opera House.

We were very fortunate that the police did not cordon off the whole compound and the Louvre souvenir shop was open. There are thousands of reproductions of the display in the museum that are for sale. With the limited time that we have, it is impossible to select something we truly wish to have.  Should it be a miniature Venus de Milo or Egyptian cat bust or The Raft of the Medusa reprint? Sorry to Mona Lisa fans, she will be the last thing that I would view in Louvre.  

 The Raft of the Medusa
I was mesmerized by The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault the first time I saw it. It is the only piece of Western and oil on canvas painting that I ever like though I am a big fan of Chinese paintings. Painted when Théodore Géricault was 27 years old and initially thought off as a failure after its exhibition at Salon of 1819. The Raft of the Medusa portrayed a wrenching scene of shipwrecked men helpless in the grips of the ocean after the wreck of a French frigate off the coast of Senegal in 1816, with over 150 soldiers on board.

A long time was spent by the artist in preparing for the composition of this painting. He began by amassing documentation, questioning the survivors and visits to the morgue which he then sketched, worked with a model and wax figurines, studied severed cadavers in his studio, used friends as models, and hesitated between a numbers of subjects. There followed the period of solitary work in his studio, spent getting to grips with a vast canvas measuring five meters by seven.

This painting left me contemplating the important but also brutally uncomfortable essential thought provoking question: what can we learn about our common mortality and the ultimate image of inhumanity at the mercy of Mother Nature?  

At the end, Yong selected for me this beautiful POSTER BICENTENARY OF THE LOUVRE MUSEUM, composed by 100 reproductions of works of the Louvre collections created on the occasion of the Louvre museum’s bicentenary. Thank you very much Yong; the framed up poster is now hanging in the display section of mom’s house, and a memento I love the most from our November’s holiday, from Paris with love.

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