**Heads Up** : This entry has a few references to sex in an artistic context, so if that's problematic for ya...don't scroll down!
Musée de Luxembourg
I've been meaning to visit Musée de Luxembourg for the longest, but every time I head to Jardin de Luxemburg, which is right next to the museum, I'm wearing questionable workout gear and typically not carrying my student ID in the waistband of my yoga pants. One day after class, I went with a few fellow Sciences Pistes to the Musée which is located right next to–wait for it–a mini Angelina! Who the heck knew? It's probably a good thing I didn't know until now that the park I use for jogging also has a mini restaurant famous for chocolat chaud with the consistency and flavor of warm brownie batter (in a good way).
The museum was featuring an exposition on Fragonard, which I associate with the adorable little perfume boutiques that can be found around Paris. Born in Grasse (where they still make a ton of high-end perfumes) and indeed part of the Fragonard dynasty, Jean-Honoré Fragonard was apparently a bit freaky and liked to capture the rampant libertine sentiment favored by wealthy "gentlemen" of the age in etchings and frothy pastel paintings.
Although very sexually charged and questionable in terms of the treatment of women-as-objects/the male gaze, I really enjoyed many of his paintings. There were strong notes of leisure, fun and fancy-free in the outdoor pastoral scenes, offset nicely by an undercurrent of dramatic irony, as many of the paintings captured the excesses of the french upperclasses in the days leading up to the Revolution.
|Le Verrou: one of Fragonard's most famous paintings...but also pretty rape-y.|
I went to an exposition recently at Musée d'Orsay on prostitution in Paris, so I am less sensitive now to the idea of sex as a thematic driver for art. Both exhibitions did a great job of using the works to serve as a snapshot of a moment in time. As a woman, however, I can't help but wonder if much has changed...
|One of the more "progressive"/scandalous pieces: A woman surrounded by books and other educational materials without a man in sight (gasp!), engaging in a little "self-pleasure".|
And last but certainly not least, last night I went to an exhibition at L'Institut of artifacts recovered from the ocean floor off the coast of Egypt where the ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus once stood. I remember hearing about how archaeologists had found the lost city of Alexandria back in the 90s. My mom used to watch a lot of National Geographic-type shows, and I remember Zahi Hawass or one of those dudes mentioning how the city had been found, but it would take some time to recover everything. Apparently a frenchman found two other cities also submerged off the coast near Alexandria which had been thought to have been "lost".
|A god conquering all of the scary things found in Egypt: crocodiles, scorpions, snakes and mini goats that have long sharp horns for...goring, I guess?|
Considering the fact that a "catastrophic event" sent these cities to the bottom of the Mediterranean hundreds of years ago, the artifacts on display were incredibly beautiful and in amazing condition. Many of the items recovered really showcased the blending of Greek and Egyptian cultures and mythologies.
|Egyptian queen with Greek stylistic characteristics|
|Egyptian statue dedicated to Hathor, the Aphrodite/Venus of Egypt. Many of the gods in this period represented a blend of Greek and Roman traditions. Basically the Egyptian Venus de Milo.|
|This tablet was found face down on the ocean floor, which kept it in almost perfect condition|
|Isis in the form of a falcon "on top" of Osiris.|
The L'Institut itself is super cool as well. The walls have these little camera-like apertures that control the amount of light allowed in at any given point during the day. There is also a Moroccan restaurant on the 9th floor with a little deck providing an incredible view of the back of Notre Dame. I wasn't able to go out and take a pic, but I definitely plan on going back soon!
I found out recently that I can use my student ID to also get into CASTLES for free! So keep a lookout for posts about the Châteaux of Chantilly and Fontainebleau soon! Don't miss a post: sign up for email updates (the tiny box thingy on the right)!