On a Monday in Paris most museums as well as some shops and the markets are closed. A true Parisian needs Mondays to rest after a busy weekend.
Fortunately there are exceptions. The Musee le Cluny is one of those. It is dedicated to medieval art. The dark ages fascinate me. There is so much I love from this era. Could it have been so dark if it gave us the beautiful cathedrals? The art is also stunning. Most of it is dedicated to the church.
The museum is housed in a medieval building. It was built like a fort, strong and secure but with beautiful ornamentation on all windows and doors. The inside is stark as well. But then the magic begins…
Room after room is filled with objects. Altarpieces to start with finely carved from wood. It is important to remember that most people were illiterate in those days . The church decorations and windows told stories from the Bible to remind people what to do.
Reading was for the privileged and books were a very valuable acid. All were beautifully illustrated as well.
The craftmanship was incredible. Especially the goldsmith work that was combined with enamel work.
The highlight of the museum is the room with tapestries depicting the Lady and the Unicorn. This is some of the beautiful secular art we have left. The unicorn has a definite double meaning… All the tapestries demonstrate sensual things like touching, music, visual and so on. These tapestries were intended for the rooms of a wealthy lady. It not only decorated the room but isolated the cold buildings.
I was so immersed in beauty that I was almost shocked to find the last room dedicated to weapons. We forget that this was a time of feudal warlords .
The building is surrounded by gardens in the gothic style, complete with hedges of stone and wood. Flowerbeds are filled with old fashioned flowers mixed with vegetables and fruit and nut trees
The rest of my day I will dedicate to painting. So far there is nothing promising but at least I started working..
I am up and about early. I walk to the Louvre along the right bank of the Seine. It is a beautiful sunny day. The courtyard of the Louvre is still empty except for the odd photographer taking advantage of the early sunlight and the absence of tourists.
My aim is the Tuileries gardens. I walk under the Arc du Carrousel du Louvre majestic in the sun with its glittering statues on top.
The sprinklers in the garden just went off and the plump Mailol statues were still dripping wet. These figures beg to caressed.
I made my way to the first fountain where I sat myself down to draw a few statues.
Slowly walking back I drank in all the beauty around me. The Island of Notre Dame drifted like a big ship on the still waters of the Seine.
l bought croissants at the boulanger for a first class breakfast.
The next stop is the museum Delacrois. Another monument to a misunderstood artistic soul that meant a great deal to later generations of artists. He was an excellent draftsman with exquisite drawings and etches. His paintings tend to be dark and foreboding. Unfortunately his studio lost its charm in the restoration process. It is clean and neat with no sign of the creative process. The lovely garden is tranquil and peaceful.
A visit to the archeological museum shows ruins from Roman times and interesting material on the development of the city.
At four we attended a Bach recital for organ, guitar and flute. Heavenly music made even better in the church of St Louis du l’Ile.
My wife conjures up a great meal while I start my first painting in Paris.
Today we visited the Monde Arabe. It is an interesting building by architect Jean Novelle. The windows, inspired by Arabic tile work, can change to adjust changes in the light during the day. Except for functionality it is beautiful as well.