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Chartres, Le Mans, and the Louvre, 2012 (5)

In mid-April 2012, the snow's disappearing in the Jura.

Too much work anyway. Down tools. We're going to Chartres.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Another dose of the Louvre

Back to the Louvre in another downpour (the 95 bus)

Kristin's on line, patiently

Etruscan dead folks keeping an eye on the family in perpetuity.
We're on our way to "Italian Painting" but we're temporarily lost again.

-- Come, you may approach the Throne. Come. Don't be afraid.

A Suspected Militant hunted down by the holy drone (the "Reaper" loaded with Stigmata missiles)
(Giotto, St Francis of Assisi, ca. 1295) [The Louvre is a "no flash", not a "no photo" museum.]

More beheadings (and behaloings, too)
(Fra Angelico, Martyrdom of Saints Cosme and Damien, ca. 1440)

Great planning. The best of the Italian tradition is lined up along the walls like advertising posters in a subway. Hordes of school groups and Japanese tourists clutching one another's hands in a line pushing through to see the Mona Lisa and get back to the souvenir shop and toilets. If you stop to look at a painting briefly, they jostle past you like you were the elderly gentleman snoozing on his shopping cart in the middle of the grocery aisle.

Jesus has long-range plans to save the World, but is presently engaged.
(Lo Zoppo, Virgin and Infant surrounded by eight angels, 1455)

Souvenir sellers are already working the crowd.
(Biagio d'Antonio, late XVth c.)

-- Jesus, I want you to tell John that you're sorry. You mustn't bite baptists' little fingers.
(Ghirlandaio, ca. 1490)

Christus Triumphans
(Giovanni Bellini, Christ blessing, ca. 1465)

-- So, anyway, as I was saying . . . .
(Carlo Braccesco, St Stephen with his palm and St Angelo with the machete in his head, ca. 1490-1500. St Angelo was a 12th century Carmelite born in Jerusalem who came to Sicily, did a few miracles, and said something rude to a burly Cathar knight named Berengarius, and had to walk round with a machete in his head for the rest of his life.)

-- Oh no you don't! You just keep that thing away from me!
(The central part of Braccesco's triptych, The annunciation.)

-- Women and children first

Abusing the disabled

Mantegna, Minerva chasing the Vices out of the Garden of Virtue, 1502.
It's good to have that explained.

Except for the donors in the foreground, here are some extremely pretty people.
(Boltraffio, Virgin, Infant, John the Baptist and St Sebastian, and donors, 1500, considered his best work)

-- I've got another head for you here. Not much of a bleeder, this one.
-- Thanks, just drop it on my tray.
(Luini, Salomé and John the Baptist, early XVI c.)

-- If I'd known then what I know now. . . . well.
(Lorenzo Lotto, 1526)

Look at this milling and happy crowd! That's Veronese's Wedding at Cana on the far wall, ignored. What are they all looking at?


I've never liked the Mona Lisa anyway -- we turn to this inspiring work by Giulio "Pippi" Romano, done for the Gonzagas of Mantova in 1537: the emperor Vespasian and his son triumphing after throwing the Jews out of Jerusalem in A.D. 66. (Of course, they're back now, so . . . .)

Raphael's portrait of his friend Castiglione, about 1515. A rather nice looking diplomat in his time, but cursed by generations of PhD students in Renaissance literature who've had to wade through his Il cortegiano (The Book of the Courtier). In English translation for most of us.

One can never resist a "fortune-teller" picture (this one by Caravaggio, ca. 1596) -- the young man's expensive ring has slipped off into her other hand. In England, too, at the same time, there was a lively fad for "coney-catcher and bawdy basket" tales of urban tricksters' con-games with the naive gentlemen. (Thomas Nashe is the funniest.)

No fat bug-eyed baby. No suffering adult with soulful eyes. Jesus as a teenager.
(Giovanni Serodine, Jesus among the doctors, 1626)

Another arrogant little David with a feather on, and his trophy head. I hate these things. (Guido Reni, ca. 1605)

Felicity making off with the cutlery and crowns
(Orazio Gentileschi, La Félicité publique triomphant des Dangers, ca. 1623)

Another insufferable David parading around with the Oversize Head
(Matteo Rosseli, ca. 1620s)

At all Last Supper paintings, we mostly want to know what they were eating; usually it's either a loaf of bread or a rat.

In this case, we still don't know. (Tiepolo, ca. 1745)

A great Peasant Family by one of the Nains (the Louvre says "Louis (ou Antoine")). (Not Mathieu?)

The forge (Le Nain (Louis, ou Antoine), early XVIIth c.)

A good Mary Magdalene, with a night light, staring into space or the past
(Georges de la Tour, ca. 1645)

The cheater (Georges de la Tour, 1635) -- the little rich kid is about to get a haircut (as hedge managers say).

More sturdy peasants -- The handcart, or Coming back from the haying (Le Nain, 1641)

Still another fortune-teller. Good luck with that, sweetheart.

A long afternoon. Off we go, if we can find the way out.

Louvre stairs, but No Exit.

Against expectations, we're out.

Goodbye, I. M. Pei Pyramid

Goodbye, Carrousel Arch

Hello, Chartres cathedral. Back home in the rain again. Just LOOK at that North Tower!

The first round of French presidential elections took place yesterday, 22 April.
Marine did better than expected unfortunately.

And alas, Mme Arthaud won only 0.56% of the first-round vote (though M. Mélenchon and the Front de gauche did somewhat better). Anyway, two weeks later, Hollande won the second round and bob's your uncle.

Tomorrow: Sayonara, Chartres

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 10 May 2012.

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