Oct 252009
 

Today started across the street from Saturday’s first stop.  The Musee Rodin is a nice place to visit — almost a refuge.  The Hotel Biron, though a little frayed around the edges, has two floors of sculture, some paintings (including some Van Goghs).  Small wonder the floors are creaky and show patches, when you consider the amount of bronze, marble, and plaster.  The free museum guide is well done and concise.

The Gardens of Musee Rodin and the Hotel Biron
The Gardens of Musee Rodin and the Hotel Biron

The grounds are peaceful and well maintained, though I expect that on nice spring and summer weekends it can get crowded.

Rodin:  Jean de Fiennes
Rodin: Jean de Fiennes

Bronze works are distributed around the grounds and there are even free telescopes so you can closely examine the details of his famous doors “The Gates of Hell”.

The next stop was the other part of FIAC 2009, taking place in a temporary building erected in the Cour Carree de Louvre.  For those who have been to the Louvre, that’s the courtyard to the east of the Pyramid.

For FIAC, a temporary building in the Cour Caree du Louvre
For FIAC, a temporary building in the Cour Caree du Louvre

I didn’t find as much to like with this collection of galleries and artists.  One guy was eyeing my Leica, though…At least I think that’s where he was looking.  His wife finally dragged him away.  (He was probably trying to figure out what it was, since I usually cover the “steal me” red dot and model engraving with pieces of black tape.)

My biggest surprise was the Centre Pompidou…The place was crawling with people.  Also surprising was the number of kids — little kids.

Two children and the Christophe Berdaugeur/Marie Pejus installation "7th Continent"
Two children and the Christophe Berdaugeur/Marie Pejus installation “7th Continent”

These two are looking at an installation called “7th Continent” by Christophe Berdauguer and Marie Pejus…That is, until their mother told them to get out of the way of the guy taking pictures.  But we worked that out, and now Mom is expecting a file with the picture. (That will take a little bit of time back home — this is a tricky image.)  It does make you wonder about “children’s art”…It really shouldn’t be just about clowns and bunnies.

There is quite a lot of activity around the Centre (it is much more than just a museum).  The shot below was taken just after sunset, and you can see the glow of the Eiffel Tower at the upper right.

Place Georges Pompidou just after sunset
Place Georges Pompidou just after sunset

Even as I left a little after 7:00 pm, people were still coming in.  Why aren’t those people staying at home on Sunday evening watching TV and training their kids to be couch potatoes?

Footnote:  The Musee Rodin has an excellent guide to the museum’s collections.  “Guide to the Musee Rodin Collections” is a compact and concise 256-page book and provides insights into not only Rodin’s sculptures, but also his painting, drawings, and works of others that he collected.  The price is 15 Euros and you can find a little more information here:  http://www.musee-rodin.fr/bnouv-e.htm.

Oct 242009
 

First stop today was Napoleon’s Tomb.  This is indeed a national shrine…Perhaps the French are more willing to celebrate a leader’s accomplishments, and not focus too much attention on his shortcomings.  The sarcophagus likes in the tomb that was excavated and build under dome of what was once the Royal Chapel.

Napoleon's Tomb

When the dome was regilded in 1989, about 25 pounds of gold was used.  The tomb is part of the Hotel National des Invalides, which also houses the Musee de L’Armee.  I was pleasantly surprised to see an exhibit honoring Poland’s story and contributions in WWII.

Poland:  First to Fight

There is a series of displays down a corridor (shown) with French text, and a series of large photos and text displayed in the museum’s main courtyard (English and French) giving a much more accurate view of events than the history I learned.

One little gem in the Musee de L’Armee is the Musee des Plans-Reliefs.  These are formerly classified relief map models of French fortifications along the Atlantic coast, the Pyrenees, and the Mediterranean.   You have to climb up to the 4th floor, where the 24 models in the collection are kept in a dark, climate-controlled room that runs pretty much the length of the courtyard.

Models of French Fortifications

It is very dark in the museum, but you can manage photos if you have a fairly fast lens, a steady hand, and can manage high ISO digital images.

FIAC 2009 (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) is a pretty significant contemporary arts exhibition.  In the booths are the big name galleries, and sitting in the booths or mounted on the wall are some pretty big name artists.

The FIAC in the Grande Palais

This picture is just the part that is set up in Paris’ Grand Palais.  The other half is located in the Cour Carree de Louvre…I guess you could see both in one day.  Contemporary art isn’t for everyone, and I can easily disregard the vast majority of what I saw today.  However, every once in awhile…

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