Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Louvre

Bill and I visited the Louvre yesterday. Our goal was the "Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas", which we've never seen, but first I needed to see the Chardins in the French painting section, which we enjoyed so much on our last visit.
Our journey from French painting to the ethnic wing took us through the Greek antiquities gallery -- we both love these Greek Archaic marble torsos (circa 550 BC)
The kouros above is part of this group of three. Beautiful!
We dashed through the halls of Italian paintings, completely missing the Mona Lisa. We were confident that she'd be surrounded by a crowd of admirers.
 We dashed down the stairs of the Denon wing --
 and arrived at this stunning African sculpture of the god of iron and warfare (circa 1858) from Benin.
It's hard not to look at a masterpiece like this African mask without being reminded how deeply these works influenced 20th century modern western art.
This six foot high sculpture is a stunning masterpiece. It represents a ritual divinity and comes from Vanuatu, a Melanesian archipelago in the Pacific Ocean near the east coast of Australia . I wish I could convey the power it emanates in the room. You may also note that this room is almost empty of visitors. If you tire of the seething mass of tourists in the painting galleries this is the place to come. The best kept secret in the Louvre?
I loved this pert little fellow -- he's a 17th century divinity from Micronesia carved in wood.
And how about this unusual, abstract, 15th century, Carib sculpture from the Petites Antilles carved out of volcanic stone.
Or these Mexican figurines in classic 7th century Teotihuacin Style.
The small, exquisite gallery of non-Western art ends with this gorgeous, 20th century, Alaskan Inuit mask. Go see! It's just a taste of what you can see at the Musee du Quai Branly near the Eiffel Tower.
We emerged from the Porte des Lions of the Denon Wing into the courtyard of the Louvre.


  1. I seem to recall Islamic Arts were also completely empty and hiding in a basement!

  2. Interesting. I don't remember the basement part. I remember the Assyrian bold bearded animal wall things, and great cuneiform tablets from an earlier visit. We could compile some areas of the Louvre for those "peaceful Paris" books!