Total time spent in line at the Louvre: 0 minutes.
I believe, in Interwebs parlance, this is called: lolwut.
Partly due to luck and partly to a good perusal of Rick Steves, I asked and was allowed to use the group/premier entrance in an uncrowded area (Richeleu wing!), so absolutely no wait in security. I had no wait to check my coat (note to self: check coat in EVERY MUSEUM), and my pass meant I didn’t have to wait in a ticket line. Schoom. Off I go!
Get this. I didn’t see any paintings. I didn’t really want to. Paintings, by and large, bore me. And, can I confess something? I don’t like the Mona Lisa. I’ve never liked the Mona Lisa. I only appreciate the Mona Lisa as a minor plot device in Ever After. So I didn’t see it.
But I did see the ancient Mesopotamian art. This interests me. And guess what? No crowds.
Here, my friends, is Hammurabi’s code.
It is amazing that this code of laws has impacted our world so thoroughly. This code was carved in stone, but on only the very surface. What happens when the stone cracks? A very philosophical question.
There were hundreds of seals, all incredibly intricate and very small. These fascinate me especially. What are the symbols? How are they picked? What was sealed? How could they be forged? You know I,m thinking Mesopotamian thriller novel now. Darn. Into the idea book it goes!
I love pieces of art that incorporate words and images, but this was fascinating. Along what a wall relief, which was obviously meant to be higher than eye level, was a strip about eighteen inches high of this cuneiform. What did it say? Who was supposed to read it? The gods?
I know there were different iterations of cuneiform, but some of this writing was ridiculously small. How could anyone read it? Was it meant to be read? What function did it have?
This axe head was gorgeous. I wonder if it was ceremonial or actual, and what the words on the blade mean. Do they say “God bless this axe” or “Eat metal”?
There were a small number (but a lot, comparatively speaking) of colored friezes, reliefs, and walls. The colors have all faded, which gives rise to an interesting vision of a ruthless empire dominated by pastels.
This, this is a stele set up by the king of Moab to commemorate his victory over the dynasty of Omri and the kingdom of Israel.
My immediate thought was, “This (ahem) just got real.”
I went back and looked at it three times. I mean, there are stories, and then there are histories. When the two collide, your world goes “KRAKAKOOM!”
The Winged Victory is worth the hype. She’s gorgeous and dynamic from all sides. It’s hard to miss her — she’s in a stairwell surrounded by people standing in the way to take a picture (but waiting until all the other people standing in the way to take a picture have moved).
Also, the Apollo gallery is gorgeous and a must-see for the ceilings. There are painted representations of the twelve months separated by cherubs in various activities representing the zodiac. Everything is accented in gold and marble and is quite pleasingly grand. Oh, and there are crown jewels and stuff, too, but they’re not as cool as the ceilings.
I also ran through the Roman/Etruscan galleries, but there wasn’t much interesting (for me). Plus I was tired and hungry.
Lunch was a fabulous deal: a generous slice of “pizza,” a bottle of water, and a pastry for €9,10. Because I’m trying to be nutritious, I got a blueberry tart. It was exquisite. The pizza was good too, but it didn’t so much have tomato sauce as slices of the ends of tomatoes, as if someone made a lot of sandwiches with tomato slices and said, “What shall we do with all the tomato heels? I know! They shall go in our pizzas.” It is actually very clever, and I prefer the heels to the innards, so I made myself eat the whole thing.
While I was enjoying my dejuner, I espied some Louvre workers working with a robot of some kind. I had my guess, but I couldn’t be sure (even after watching for half an hour) until I walked close by and squinted.
Did you guess?
If you said, “What is washing the famed glass pyramid of the Louvre,” then you’re right! It was fun and fascinating to watch — how lucky am I?!