The Louvre

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Louvre is about beauty and history. Lots of it! I spent just half a day there. I could spend a year and not see it all. In order to appreciate what the Louvre has to offer, you must study in advance. Read everything you can about what you want to see and then go and see it. Looking at things in books is great, but seeing these things for real is a whole other thing. The Louvre is a monster of reality. Years ago I took some fine arts classes and here I was finally seeing the things that I studied including Chartres. What a delight.

In fact let us not even talk about the collections I saw. Let us just talk about being at the

Louvre. I have never been amongst such a huge assemblage of world’s people. Every nationality you can imagine is represented. (Except of course, Indians, Canadians, New Zealanders and Russians.) It is exciting to be with so many diverse people who are all there with the same intention to appreciate wealth, artistic and historic wealth. I felt honored to be with such people.

In summary I went through only four general collections, Italian Renaissance paintings, classical Greek sculpture, Italian sculpture and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos to be taken in the Louvre. I saw lot of people doing it, but when I tried I was scolded by a custodian, so sadly, no photos. When I say “went through” I sadly mean literally brisk walking. There is no way to really look at things in the Louvre unless you have studied in advance and know what to look at. For me my looking was very very broad except for the few pieced that I remember studying in school. But regardless, my visit to the Louvre was outstanding. I will certainly return.

Some general conclusions that I draw from the being at the Louvre and in Paris in general. Art is important. This is something I have learned just by being in Paris, but at the Louvre you are confronted with so much of it all at once. Unfortunately America is a desert in terms of art. Part of this is due to its history and geography. It is just a very young place and has had no time to develop and collect much art. But more than this the extreme form of capitalism that exists in America is not conducive to the cultivation and preservation of the arts. In general this is something that governments or in the past, royalty, must do. Art is a state enterprise. To put is succinctly France gets art, America get bill boards. It is that simple. This is the price of so much capitalism.

Being in the Louvre and walking past painting after painting and sculpture after sculpture is an incredible experience. I am like a parched man who has been thirsty for so long that it feels normal. But being here and seeing so much of it so fast is overwhelming. I became like a madman dancing in the hallways of the Louvre soaking it in. I have become drunk on see all of this. Never do I want to go back to living without art again. Art is life. In a previous writing installment I spoke of roots. The Louvre certainly makes it clear what the roots of Western culture is. It is Greece and Christianity and it is obvious that the majesty Christian art is totally grounded in Greek architecture and sculpture. The pyramid dome is actually the main entrance. It is wonderful once you get under it. I suppose it is like the Eiffel tower, which was not well appreciated when it was first built. In a strange way is seems to fit in with the rest of Paris.

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