Originally, I had planned on visiting the Louvre every morning of my trip. I thought I would get up early and just go and be with the beautiful paintings. I imagined sitting and gazing and sketching. I did go to the Louvre my first day ever in Paris, with those intentions, but Louvre reality was not my vision.
The Louvre is huge. Huge even for a palace…I think…but I don’t really know palaces outside of the one at Disneyland. And it’s got layers to it. Wide titanium white passages, ups, downs, and sideways, and amazing light letting ceiling on the top floor. And in this huge space are huge masterpieces; huge and dark masterpieces. I had a really hard time believing that the crushing crowd I was part of was being trusted around so much priceless art. It made me dizzy, or maybe that was the jet lag.
I mentioned they were huge and dark, these masterpieces. I’ve long been enamoured with the idea that language is unique for each of us because we give each word a meaning that is constructed by our own experience. For me, I think I gave masterpiece a meaning something like….best of the best, beautiful, makes me feel wonder and awe in a lifting sense. My new meaning is a highly revered work painted by a man during dark times for women.
I guess I knew this is what was at the Louvre but seeing so many of these pieces together was startling. I thought a lot about what I was seeing in this collection and what it represented as a period in art history. I noted the absence of femal artists and I wondered what they would have painted. I recognized my personal love of light and colour were needs not being met. I became so grateful for living now, when I can compare art of different periods, turn on the lights, and be free to say, the work of the old masters doesn’t really appeal to me.