Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Louvre

"You never do the Louvre. The Louvre does you. It's so big that you'll collapse after four hours and shake your fist up at the Louvre and shout "Damn you Louvre! You win."."

- James, the tour guide from a couple of days

I spent the whole day in the Louvre today. I figured it's a big place, and there's a lot to see, so I'd need a day to do it justice. I quite enjoy walking around museums, normally, and the Louvre is reputed to be the best. There's nothing like being a couple feet away from something so mind-numbingly beautiful that it still looks nice when behind a metre-thick pane of bullet-proof glass. 

It's quite a sight, the Louvre. They say that, despite holding countless works of art, the real masterpiece of the Louvre is the Louvre. It's a plush, grand, expansive, elegant, refined, sumptuous, decadent building. And it's big. 

It was originally designed as a fort to guard against Viking raiders. The old fort is still in the bowels of the complex, and you can walk around the foundations of the wall and the central tower. Over the years, the kings added wings and galleries and more hallways until they bankrupted the state and pissed off the peasants enough to spark a revolution. 

Must've been hard on the peasantry, but can't argue with the results. 

Wish I could say the same about the art inside. After all the hype, it's a bit disappointing, to be honest. The Mona Lisa is pretty homily. The Venus de Milo has a mannish jaw and flat hips. But the Winged Victory of Samothrace is pretty good looking - shame about the face, though. 

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