15 October 2009

IN WHICH I go to museums, part 1

Now that I’m not spending every moment scrambling for paperwork, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of Paris’ famed museums. The best part is that I go for free.

I went first to the Musée d’Orsay, which was just heart-stopping. The museum itself is gorgeous. It’s in an old train station with a ceiling is high and arched, and full of light. (It’s also really well organized and easy to navigate <3 ) To see so many paintings that I’ve seen reproductions of for years…  It feels so good, so rich.

My favorite to see was Courbet’s Un Enterrement à Ornans (1850), a somber picture of a burial in his home town:

It is so good. Looking, I wanted to cry a little. The experience of scale doesn't come across in images. Each figure is about life size, the picture, enormous. (How did he even paint that? On a ladder?) It's pretty famous for political/social commentary, but what attracts me is the quality of the paint, the colors, and especially the composition.

I love this group of women and the shape their heads make in the darkness.
Especially the woman with her face half covered- she's very mysterious and maybe the only figure in the painting that looks out to the viewer. My sketch:

Also loved this little deer which I drew from one of Courbet's nature paintings:

I saw Manet's painting Olympia, a giant in modern art:

It's so funny in person! The cat, the face, the entire scene...
Also the colors are much flatter, weirder & more saturated than I imagined.
And her hair is really quite pretty, a big pouf of red.
I really like her left eye (so simply done), her little toes peeping from behind the shoe, the flowers on the sheet, and the pillow under her arm.

Now I feel really bad for deleting her in that project..........

Another favorite was Manet's Le Balcon.

The paint is magnificant (especially in that potted plant!), there is a tiny foot & the girl (Berthe Morisot)  is pretty... Again, Manet really cracking me up! Look at that man's expression! What is he doing?

<---Trying to show how funny I think that man is.

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