Monday, April 30, 2018

Museum of the Hunt and Nature

         The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is situated in two 18th century mansions in the heart of the Marais.
This oversized frog peering out of a ground floor window promises surprises within.
We knew that interesting contemporary artists like Sophie Calle had shown at the museum. Gérard Garouste, a contemporary French painter was showing at the museum's gallery when we visited.
Here's an example of the expressionistic work he was showing on the ground floor gallery -- Diana and Actaeon, 2015.
(Detail of above). When huntsman, Actaeon stumbles upon the goddess Diana bathing in the nude in the woods, she angrily turns him into a stag and he is torn to pieces by his own hounds.
We left the art gallery and climbed the steps to the museum.
At the top of the stairs we found a small, medieval carving of Saint Eustace converting to Christianity after encountering a stag in the forest with a crucifix between its horns.
Then we walked into the The Room of the Dogs.
John captured a detail of the pups in the painting above
and I admired Jeff Koons' ceramic vase, Puppy, 1998. Thus began a series of elegant rooms dedicated to the hunt and the hunted that lead the visitor through the museum's collection.
In The Room of the Stag and the Wolf we found Wolf hunt, a late 16th century, Flemish tapestry
and a stuffed stag with full antlers. Every elegant room is packed with period furniture, art and stuffed animals related to the hunt
as well as dark side rooms full of mysterious treasures like this owl mask
in a little room featuring a ceiling of owls. It's all quite mysterious and overwhelming.
John liked this little warthog
and in this lushly decorated sitting room
I favoured this fox curled up in one of the chairs. John saw one young visitor whispering into the fox' ear. Kids love this museum.
The period rooms seem endless, always with surprises
like this one where John has found some contemporary porcelain figurines
like this bear holding what seems to be a partial child's body
and this rather louche bear reclining with a pistol on his lap.
Other cabinets displayed 17th century dishes with hunt decorations,
serving tureens like this boar's head design
and rather terrifying, exotic cans of rhinoceros
crocodile and tiger meat. Not available at your local supermarket, thank God!
The museum reminded me of of a wild cabinet of sometimes questionable curiosities. Not for the faint of heart! Let's take our leave as John poses with an oversized friend
and we descend to the Rue des Archives below!

2 comments:

  1. The puppies!The fox chair! Taking a drawing break to rest my poor, painful elbow and this post was a delightful treat.

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  2. Glad to offer relief for your elbow, Nancy!
    love
    Bill & John

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