Few Linger in the Louvre

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The Bather, Ingres, 1808

Almost nobody, over the course of that hour or two, paused before any object for as long as a full minute. Only a 17th-century wood sculpture of a copulating couple, from San Cristobal in the Solomon Islands, placed near an exit, caused several tourists to point, smile and snap a photo, but without really breaking stride.

[From Abroad – At the Louvre, Many Snap but Few Focus, and Mona Lisa Smiles On – NYTimes.com]

It seems that people go to places like the Louvre to say that they have been. it isn’t about looking at the works, or exploring the history of art, it’s about bolting through, looking at the Mona Lisa and leaving. And gawking at the nudes.

the enormous wait times may have a lot to do with that, the line for the Louvre is over an hour on weekends. people are exhausted and over it by the time they get there. but it still strikes me as extremely sad.

I have been to the Louvre, I was disappointed because we only had a couple of hours there as part of our tour. I am one of those incredibly irritating people who will stop in front of a painting for aages, get as close as I can (I did set off alarms accidentally :oops:) and study it. I used to go to the NGV for a whole day just to wander and study the pieces. I look at the colors, the brush strokes, the relationships. there is so much to be gained by looking at a work of art in the original. in the days when Granny and I went together you could just forget it! we would spend 10 minutes discussing each work at a minimum. I remember a Turner exhibition I saw with her where we were mesmerized by the colors for hours on end. my mother was exceptionally bored. I would feel sorry for her if it wasn’t one of my most delightful memories of my Granny.

and by the way, the Mona Lisa is a bit disappointing. it’s really quite small and you aren’t allowed anywhere near it so you can’t make out any of the details. if you can see it over the crowd at all. I was more thrilled with seeing the Ingres’ and Degas’ in real life.

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