Musee Du Louvre-A glimpse

                                            

Musee Du Louvre -The Song- Click here to listen

My first view of the River Seine and the Musée Du Louvre was from the summit of the Eiffel Tower. As the escalator that lead up to the topmost level ascended, I noted the edges of the pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre), glittering like diamonds in the resplendent Parisian night skyline. Whilst we had breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape from the Eiffel, and spent time taking innumerable pictures of its illuminated glittering glory, I was personally hankering to take a stroll down the river and be closer to the waters where history still floats. I knew that I had just six days in the city, yet wanted to follow the four hundred mile course of the river, walking.

Seine flowed silently and almost inconspicuously, forming impenetrable bonds with towns and cities that bordered the expanse of her waters. My mind surged with an almost disobedient desire to wishfully walk centuries behind and embrace the presiding spirit of the river.

The Seine divides Paris into two unequal parts and is crossed by nineteen bridges. On the right bank is the Louvre Museum (housed in the Louvre Palace) and the Tuileries Gardens- which has its distinctive charm and almost contrived musical hush. Visiting the Louvre Museum has been a dream ever since my mind has been flapping and gliding through known and unknown pieces of art and ever since I have been attempting to interpret the language of buildings and physical structures. I believe my first impression of the Louvre had been when as a teenager I had read about this eclectic edifice of art, history and culture in a rather old edition of Calcutta Review (a bimonthly periodical founded in 1844).Louvre Photo One.jpegYears later, when I actually visited The Louvre, one part of my mind was darkened with impatience. It was raining and my son and I finally entered the labyrinthine Pyramid which had been brought into being in 1993 by American architect, I.M. Pei and which now marks the magnificent entrance to the museum. My eyes and my mind instantly felt invigorated like never before. I asked myself:

Am I powdered leaf or grass,

Or am I just an open windowless room,

With darts of light coming in from the door

Waiting to be washed all over.

So I take a deep breath and close my eyes,

Unfastening the flesh from the mind,

I become a tiny butterfly,

And travel deep through my new life.

Louvre Photo Two.jpegWe had the Louvre collections map, but preferred to willfully follow our instincts to unravel the magical exhibits in the museum. The Monalisa is perhaps the most frequented showpiece and thus we tried to discover Da Vinci’s glorious art and the other magnificent displays and got started with the Denon Wing which is on level 0 of the museum. Monalisa, as is well known is possibly the artist’s portrait of an Italian noblewoman Lisa Ghirardini or Da Vinci’s artistic allegory which could be encoded in various ways. I stood at length, focusing unconsciously on the portrait and soaking in the enigmatic smile of this marvelous work. I wasn’t as enamored by the art as I was in the story that lay behind the painting. That curved smile with closed lips was in itself like a rigid inscription that wanted to tell stories, not yet uncovered.

You are breathing in the air,

All the irrevocable spaces,

The essence of me,

Intersecting your stagnant thoughts.

Monalisa, there is something unfinished in your portrait,

Between the imperceptible transitions of light and shade,

Without borders,

In the manner of smoke,

Subtle, invisible, pulsating brush strokes.

There is something that layers of pigment cannot build and finish,

There is something that is alive, and yet unseen,

Seeking an ending,

In

 Your-almost storyline.

 Next on our agenda was the desire to visit the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a headless Greek statue dating from the second century BC. Since 1884, this statue has lured museumgoers possibly with the force of the goddess’s outstretched wings, its silent but powerful and mystical pathos. Once again I felt drawn to the rhythm of the suggestion of flight and its vibrating and contrasting symmetry where the relatively stable sculpture, depicted movement as well as a suspension of its material presence in air. I stared at my watch. We had three more hours to complete this tour and I did not know when again would I return to the fluid, uncertain, shifting and yet deliriously magical spaces of the Louvre Museum. If I were to visit the Louvre every day of my life, I know for certain that each day would be a discovery, a resurfacing of the inner voice in response to my experiences. We quickly referred to the Louvre Collections Map and yet again resolved to take an unplanned trail of the Roman and Greek and Egyptian antiquities. One of the most priceless works is that of an Egyptian stele titled, Princess Nefertiabet and her food. The beautifully carved stela displays the princess wearing a panther skin dress or kalasaris, sitting on a stool with bull’s feet and stretching her hand towards a white stone pedestal table with all the food offerings that would be provided to her in her afterlife. There is something about the crispness of the carving, the echoes of the past perceived in the present moment that I feel I recognize. The hieroglyphs, the numbers, the complex funerary ideologies incorporated into table depictions and above all the artistic portrayal of the gods and the dead remind me of how beautifully the Egyptians perpetuate religious themes through reliefs and paintings.

Louvre Photo Three

 In the night bark of the sun,

My soul finds a place,

In this world of beautiful stones,

There is no need to give shape

To what I feel and what I sense-

Or why I am this awake!

Time was running out on us and so we attempted to reach out with a deliberate and slightly quickened sensitivity to the Louvre’s wondrous treasures and our own reflections and perceptions of the exhibits and the architecture. At the Sully wing of the museum is an unmissable Greek masterpiece known as Venus De Milo or Aphrodite which is hugely admired despite its missing arms. The Great Sphinx of Tanis in red granite is another Egyptian Sculpture that takes us back in time and yet ironically, before the imagination can get stimulated further, I am reminded that we have little time remaining. I rationalized that it wasn’t possible to cover the 30,000 plus works of art. Thus in the remaining time, we let chance, moving crowds and escalators guide us.

Louvre Photo FourSome of the most remarkable memories are now centered upon the Italian Renaissance (Michelangelo’s Slaves), Medieval Louvre, Objets D’ Art, the collection of Sarcophagi, Leaf of a Diptych, Une Assiette and the Raft of Medusa.

Louvre Photo Five.jpegMiles away now, back in Cambridge, Massachusetts, my heart and soul is still bulging in the folds of the breathtaking art and architecture at the Louvre Museum. A few nights ago, I penned my thoughts in poetry and added my voice and the faint hint of a melody and named the sung poetry Musée Du Louvre. While the Seine still rises into my skin, I feel transformed as never before.

Louvre Photo seven

Musée du Louvre

River Seine carry me over,

I hear those lost voices,

Promising to tell me unheard stories of wonder,

My heart cries out at the splendor,

Musée du Louvre,

Musée du Louvre.

 Down on the floor,

Michelangelo’s slave,

Da Vinci’s Virgin in a basaltic cave,

Trees,

River runs,

Bringing back blurred colors,

And I feel I know this Madonna,

Her eyes circled by a shadowy penumbra,

The master’s hand still awake,

At the Musée Du Louvre.

 And then I look at the lion at rest,

The Great Sphinx silent with secrets,

The crouching form of the lovely Aphrodite,

Neck,

Bosom,

Arms,

Such gliding charms.

Where is this am I,

Where nature is copied line by line,

This perfect world,

The indestructible sublime,

This heaven of perfection,

This affirmation that art is delight.

 Musée Du Louvre,

Musée Du Louvre,

Like the flower closing in the dark,

Musée Du Louvre,

What’s this feeling,

The chant in my heart,

This dream wire that links this life to my other lives,

Musée Du Louvre,

What’s this feeling,

My mind is flowering,

Give me back my previous mind,

Musée Du Louvre,

I am rising into light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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