Paris Travelog #6 – Third Photo Essay – Louvre

Please read Priya Raju’s excellent write up on the Louvre to appreciate this photo essay better. I want to start the essay with Vermeer’s lace maker that refuses to leave my head even after a month – some what like the earworms that people talk about in the realm of music.

The glass pyramid at entrance of Louvre is much talked about, but i couldn’t get a decent enough picture of it. Instead i choose to present you the inverted pyramids from inside the Louvre.  This area is always crowded and this is the best i could do. It is spectacular to say the least. The inverted pyramids became very famous after Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. After i saw the glass pyramids in the Louvre, the symbologist in me  couldn’t help guessing that the famous 5th Ave Apple Store in New York is inspired by the glass pyramid in the Louvre. Does anyone else think that?

While we are on the subject of symbols, i think the Winged Victory of Samothrace (below)  inspired the famous scene in the movie Titanic with Kate Winslet standing with her arms outstretched on the hull of the Titanic before Leo De Caprio joins her.  The typical photo of this sculpture leaves out the boat/ship below the sculpture, which is what make me think it inspired the famous Titanic scene. Do you all agree?

As Priya Raju mentioned, this sculpture is one of the top 3 highlights of the Louvre alongside Monalisa and Venus de Milo.

Priya is right. Shouldn’t this magnificent Athena be in the list of top 3 highlights?

Count Baldassare, which in our guide’s opinion, is  better than the Mona Lisa, as Priya mentioned.  This was done by Raphael one of the greatest Renaissance painters.

As Priya mentioned, most people miss the masterful Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese, though it is right opposite the Mona Lisa.

Here is Napoleon’s coronation by David, one of Napoleon’s favorite painters. He created 2 copies of the same painting, one is at the Versailles Palace. There are a couple of  interesting stories about this painting – Napoleon’s mother who is in the painting watching the proceedings, never really attended the coronation  ceremony. Napoleon had David add her into the painting. I guess this is how history gets distorted! It is said that David was in love with one of Napoleon’s sisters present on the left side of the painting and he deliberately made her look better than the others.

Hobbema’s windmill in the Northern Gallery is a thing of  beauty.

As a researcher into the Indus Valley Civilization, the near eastern antiquities section fascinated me the most. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend too much time. I saw a cylinder seal, used by the Sumerian/Akkadian seals in the trade with the Indus, for the first time. They are so tiny, which make them quite comparable to the Indus seals which are also equally tiny. Here is an example – you can see how tiny it is when you look at the size of the scaled up images to the right of the seal. Wow!

The Louvre left me with a sense of awe that puts almost every other museum, that i have been to, to shame, including the Smithsonian Museums, the British Museum, the Athens Museum, Egyptian Museum at Cairo etc.   The Louvre will play a great part in luring us back to Paris soon 🙂

The paris travelog series will continue with a post from Priya Raju titled “Melange“. Stay tuned.


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    enjoyed the write up.


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    Sukumar (subscribed) said January 31, 2010, 3:31 pm:

    Thanks for your kind words Kamesh. Glad you liked it.

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    Hi Sukumar – nice post… this travelog series has added one more city to my must see list !! thanks!

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    Sukumar – A sculpture dating back to the 3rd century BC & you could only think of Kate Winslet 😛 (Winged Victory of Samothrace).

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said January 31, 2010, 5:06 pm:

    Thanks for your kind words Hari.

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said January 31, 2010, 5:07 pm:

    thanks. i take that as a compliment 🙂

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    The point about the Apple store in NYC is very relevant and potentially true, or so I think.

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    Enjoyed reading this ,as well as other posts on Paris.The story about the painting of Napoleon’s coronation is interesting.
    Comparison of the sculpture with the Titanic scene is also interesting.( though it took a bit of time to comprehend the’ Samothrace photo ‘ :p ;))

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said January 31, 2010, 9:49 pm:

    Thanks RK.

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said January 31, 2010, 9:51 pm:

    Thanks Arun for your kind words. why is it difficult to comprehend the samothrace pic?

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    No no I didn`t mean it’s a big difficult puzzle piece.I read this one first and then went to the previous ones.For a first time viewer, I wondered where the head is,where a limb is ,what sort of creature this is;to be compared with Winslet(or viceversa) 🙂 ..Came back to my senses after a short while!! 🙂

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    Awesome snaps Sukumar, great companion guide to Priya’s previous post. So the mission to “Make others visit to France” is completed or something still remaining. Thanks for sharing valuable information.


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    Nice!! 🙂

    How long do you think would do ‘justice’ to the Louvre? A day? And how smooth is the movement inside? Is it smooth enough or jaragandi-jaragandi type quick? 🙂

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 1, 2010, 12:06 pm:

    Thanks Arun for the clarification.

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 1, 2010, 12:07 pm:

    Thanks Subba for the kind words. Priya has one more post to do and depending on audience interest i may do one more photo essay.

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 1, 2010, 12:10 pm:

    It depends on what your interests are? do you have interest in the arts or history?

    No there is no Tirupati type Jaragandi. It is huge, so even if it is crowded, you can still do things at your pace. the only exception to this is the Mona Lisa, which always has crowds milling in front of it. So you may not be able to enjoy it in solitude.

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    BHARATAHN said February 1, 2010, 12:55 pm:

    Really nice to look at. Great pictures of lasting value like Gibbon’s writings

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    When I had the opportunity to see Napoleon’s coronation in Louvre, what amazed me most was – every individual had a different expression apart from attire and physical look. Post reading your blog I am reconnecting so much of history and a few extrapolation to present with had I seen years back. It was a great reading!

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    Sukumar (subscribed) said February 1, 2010, 8:59 pm:

    Thanks for the kind words Bharathan.

    Sonali, thanks for the kind words. glad you liked it. yes, the point on every individual having a different expression is a good one.

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    Ramu Narla said February 2, 2010, 1:43 am:


    Nice write up. You reminded of my recent Paris trip. I have not been to many other museums, but I agree that ‘The Louvre’ will lure us back to Paris again. We really enjoyed La Galerie D’Apollon, Apollo Gallery’s – glimpse of the Coronation Crown, Paintings, sculptures and tapestries adorn the ceiling and walls of this ornate room. Thanks for your write up.

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    Thanks for the nice photo blog.

    I think, with your interest for museums, you may need a low light lens camera

    Great pictures and I am loving to have a week stopover at Paris next time.

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    Thanks Ramu for the kind words. I think we missed the Apollo Gallery. For the next time, i guess.

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    Thanks for your kind words and your recommendation. I use a SONY F828. Something tells me that low light photography is already part of its feature set. I just haven’t figured out how to use all its features effectively yet.

    Have a good trip to Paris.

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    Sukumar, excellent writeup. Just curious. What was the scale on the wedding feast and coronation paintings? Is it a large owerwhelming piece?

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    Cool snaps Sukumar…Ahh and I feel that I am away from this space for a while..will catch up all the missed post here 🙂

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    Thanks for the kind words MD. Good point on the scale. I guess the pics don’t capture that. The wedding feast by Veronese is huge, it occupies one big wall facing Mona Lisa. Coronation is also quite big as well, but not as big as the Wedding Feast.

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    Thanks Annapoorani for the kind words.

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    Pretty cool Sukumar. Once again, you and Priya have managed to remind me of my trip to Paris and the Louvre in particular. For some reason which I cannot pinpoint, the “Raft of the Medusa” left a lasting impression on me. And so did Venus de millo. The Egyptian section was awesome too. There you go, you got me all nostalgic again 🙂

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    Thanks Ganesh. Yes Raft of the Medusa is a great painting. We didn’t spend too much time in the Egyptian section. i guess that is for the next time.

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    Padma Ashtekar said February 9, 2010, 6:37 pm:

    Very Interesting Post! i am impressed by the comparison between “winged victory of Samthrace” and “Kate winslet’s pose of Titanic”.Actually it throws light on the fact that how a very small spark sown in a creative mind by seeing this type of paintings is enough to portray a lovely everlasting pose on the Big Screen.
    One more interesting point is that,even painters couldn’t escape the grip of typical Human psychology…David’s highlight of one of the Napolean’s sisters(his lover) :-))..Thank you Sukumar for such a lovely post!

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    Thanks a lot for the kind words Padma. You are right, it is very interesting to see how a small thing like that can be a big inspiration.

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