Paris continues to surprise. This year I spent Christmas there with my parents (and their friends) for the first time in my recent memory (it’s seriously probably been at least 7 years). What’s more, Mike joined me. It was surprisingly non-disastrous.
On the 26th, Mike and I wandered into the city and found out that every tourist in the world apparently had the same idea. After an hour wait outside, and at least another half an hour inside, we finally managed to visit L’Orangerie.
I had been meaning to visit this museum for a few years already, but I’m really happy that I went this week. Aside from the usual collection (by the way, breathtaking, gigantic Monet Nymphéas), they had a special exhibition of Soutine. I had not heard of him until that day, but I really think I have found a new favorite artist.
His works are purposely “flawed” – or rather, imperfect – but his series of drawings give away his underlying obsessive perfectionism. I was especially mesmerized by his elaboration on the cow carcass.
Perhaps it’s something about this guy’s psychology that speaks to me. He had serious dedication. He studied classical artists exhaustively in the Louvre, and then spent years producing a ridiculous amount of work, often painting the same thing over and over again until it looked the way he wanted… a sympathetic character, to me at least, which makes his work more meaningful. Anyway, I want to find out more about him now! I will read a book on him as soon as I find one.
On the 27th, we tried to go to Musee D’Orsay. Except (oops) I got us lost somehow and we ended up at the Petit Palais at an exhibition called Dieu(x), Modes d’emploi [God(s), operating instructions]. It was a display of religious artifacts from many of the world’s religions, organized by broad themes which they share. The point, as far as I understood, is to establish a common ground for discourse and mutual understanding in secular or multi-religious places such as Paris. I thought the concept was brilliant, although the execution a bit boring at times (especially since English translations were missing for most of the items).
I guess I can say the trip to Paris was a success since I (!) now seem to want to visit museums. Who would have thought.
(here are a few more pictures from the trip)