June 4- The Louvre is divided into three sections: Sully, Denon and Richilieu. Section Sully, on the east side of the museum, was our group’s place of entry. It is here that one may peruse the Egyptian, Classical Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Bourbon French collections.
As we did in Ancient History class, when I was a high school freshman, our group started with the Egyptian artifacts.
A Pharaonic sphinx, from one of the tombs, greeted us.
There are a couple of sections of wall, from one of the early Egyptian temples, reportedly brought to Paris by Champoleon, when he was sent to Egypt by Napoleon I. Here is one of those sections.
We spent about fifteen minutes in the Egyptian Antiquities Room, then went on to the Classical Greek collection, about twice as large as most of the other rooms.
Here are some masques and an overview of the Hall of Greek Statues.
The centerpiece of this Hall, as is widely known, is the limbless statue of Aphrodite, popularly called “Venus de Milo”. Here is one view of this iconic piece, presently credited to Alexander of Antioch. I took several shots of Madame Aphrodite, from several vantage points. I think I was outmatched by a Chinese photographer with a Nikon, but the lot of my photos are all on my Flickr site. (www.flickr.com/boivin.gary)
The next item I spotted in the Hall, as we headed towards the Great Hall of Louis XIV, .was “The Torment of Marsyas”. You may notice that the sculptor’s working model is to the right of the completed piece. This was done by Athenian sculptors, looking to produce better quality work.
The story goes that Marsyas, a satyr, challenged Apollo to a flute-playing contest. One simply did not challenge supernatural beings to a contest of any kind, so when Marsyas lost, he was subjected to this punishment.
The next frame shows details of the Hall’s ceiling. Arches were essential in distributing the weight of large stone structures.
The Four Muses are depicted, at the western end of the Hall. I always liked these ladies. Then again, I like most ladies.
The bust of a satyr gives the impression of a creature contemplating some rather insane spot of mischief.
We left the Hall, looking at a celestial scene, of more recent vintage, on the ceiling. The gold was a sign we were in Bourbon territory.
After the guided tour was finished, I returned to the Greek Antiquities section, and found these gems. First is a sarcophagus, reportedly from Corinth.
Next, are three Pithos urns. Pithos simply means “large storage container”. They were most commonly used in cremations.
For those who like hideous things, here is “Gorgon Barbue Agenouillae”. Gorgons were the creatures who had snakes as hair, and could turn a voyeur to stone.
Lastly, I spotted this amphora, with a two-headed lion. The large cats were present in Europe until about the time of Christ, and in the Caucasus Mountains until about 1000 A.D. I don’t know about conjoined cats though- that’d be a bit much.
With that, I again found myself in Section Denon, and went on Salle de Verres. This, and other great repositories of French and Italian Renaissance objets d’art, will be featured in the next post.