Saturday, October 23, 2010

Louvre of the Rings

Louvre is gigantic. Finding Mona Lisa would be like a needle in a haystack, but the helpful signs everywhere assure you won't be lost in making your way to it. All throughout the museum there are arrows pointing you towards the halls where Mona Lisa, Venus of Milo, and other legendary art treasures are displayed. I'm not sure, though, if they are worth seeing for anything other than the sense of irony. You brave the crowds surrounding those famous exhibits, only to check a mental checkmark: yes, Mona Lisa really looks just like in the pictures. Not that you could see anything details by peering at it above the sea of heads. Heck, it's not like you could see anything new if you stared at it up close. And still, a visit to Louvre would feel incomplete without it, wouldn't it?

Glowing inscriptions on the walls of medieval Louvre Glowing inscriptions on the walls of medieval Louvre

But there is more interesting stuff to see at Louvre. Most notably, its basement. Segments of medieval walls of a castle that Louvre once was are displayed here. Walking a circular tunnel (it may be a tunnel between the outer and an inner walls of the castle, but I'm not sure) you can look at roped-off niches and caves, and wonder what their purpose one was -- or did they form as the wall decayed? You can come up close and take a peek into deep wells that plunge into underground depths. Such perfect places for The Eldritch Ones to crawl out of the depths of the Earth. This glowing, cursive lettering above the well -- is it an invocation? :-)

These glowing strings of words were everywhere in the tunnels. On curving walls, they resembled the Dark Speech inscription on Sauron's Ring. :-) I don't know much French, but judging from the few words I could make out, they did not present facts about the medieval Louvre; rather, they were poetic musings about history, or something of that nature.

Some of the museum halls have white, spare walls not to draw attention away from the classical statues housed in them; others have preserved the gaudy splendor of a royal palace back from the days when Louvre was one. Some painting collections are displayed in huge halls on walls that already have every square centimeter of them painted or gilded. The paintings hanging on them are probably as big as my entire living room wall; but they don't look that huge, because they are hanging high on the wall, right underneath a vaulted ceiling (which too is painted with uncountable frescoes, and decorated with gilded ornaments). It's so ridiculously over-the-top -- your mind boggles at the excess kings lived in.

More pictures from my trip to Paris are in my photo gallery.

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