Paris, France: The Wrap Up

It wasn’t the best flight experience prior to arriving in Iceland (my luggage was too big and I wound up tragically discarding it), but the bear and I managed quite well. On the train ride from Charles De Gaulle Airport to Paris with leisure books of Paul Celan and Jean-Michel Basquiat, I enjoyed a tofu and spinach knish and a LARABAR (things stuffed into my bag from Mom’s Organic Market). By then, my overstuffed tote bag was riddled with holes from the weight. I tried not to think about left clothes, towels, and tossed Inkkas sneakers.  I have bought some new shoes. It’s just not the same.

After checking in, I headed to the Musee d’Orsay, a museum that I missed the first two Paris visits. It was always closed and unattainable.The line wasn’t long and I immediately walked inside the impressively designed museum in little time. Auguste Bartholdi’s small version of the gift to the United States.

Always a pleasure to see Jean Auguste Dominique Ingre paintings. He has an illustrious collection here and at the Louvre where one can see his famous The Odalisque and The Turkish Bathers. This oil painting from 1854 above is a splendid, colorful study encased in a dramatic gold frame entitled, The Virgin Worshiping The Host.

On a Friday night, I spent four hours at the Louvre, happily browsing through paintings and sculpture. I was thrilled to see Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait of a Negress, which reflects a depressing time of great portrait artists rendering a specific woman of color and titling the model her race and gender as opposed to her real name. I wish they were a bit more original– call her the brown Ariadne, a mortal portrait version of the Egyptian Goddess Isis, or some other enchanted fable deity. I liked imagining that she had a purpose, a legacy to behold. I couldn’t just take a picture and walk past. I stood there idolizing every inch of her, inventing answers to riddled mysteries forming in my mind.

A tiny, blurred capture of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It’s my second time seeing this small world famous portrait of mystery. And just like before, the vast crowd made it difficult to get a great picture, much less a proper view at the composition. In this case, the art history textbooks give better clarity.

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