The ‘idea’ of a museum. Paris.

Pont Alexandre III. Traveller 989. ‘Idea’? What do you mean?

Bridge over troubled waters”. (Simon & Garfunkel). Under a bridge on the Canal de l’Ourcq. A homeless tent behind me. Spared from the rain by the bridge above, s/he awakes every morning to this “woman in blue”. The artist? Titi from Paris? A “titi” is slang for a a “cheeky Parisian young boy or man.

“I like form and I do it. But to me form is just a means to express an idea. Ideas are what I’m looking for. I use form to get to what is shapeless.” Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) at the Musée Maillol, created in 1995 by Dina Vierny, his last model.

Da Cruz, Rue d’Ourcq. Strong colours and style remind me of African art. Da Cruz sounds Portuguese. A bit of research: born in 1977 in Paris, he lives precisely in that neighbourhood of la rue de l’Ourcq. (Explains why he’s on every other wall). Has traveled to Latin America and Africa. There you go.

Louis XIII in Le Marais. The street is called: “The mule step street”. Giddiyap.

Kuja hapa”. Come here, said the Lady to the Cheetah. Canal de l’Ourcq. Posted before. Different angle, different light. (Sun had come out a bit). The idea of light.

The ‘idea’ of a model. Dina Vierny in Maillol’s workshop.

The ‘idea’ of a sketch. Dina by Maillol, early 40’s. Maillol died in 1944 in a car accident. Dina Vierny opened a gallery Rue Jacob. The gallery is still there. She made a living selling art. Got married. Had two kids. And spent the next 50 years or so with the ‘idea’ that Maillol deserved a museum. She turned the idea into reality, the museum opened in 1995. (Time seems to flow ever soooo slooooowly in France) 🇫🇷 . Dina died in 2009. Her idea is a gem.

Aydar in Montmartre. I thought I saw a guy one night carrying a ladder… (The idea of a ladder…)

Medical school, Rue des Saint-pères. “Agnodice, woman doctor, facing the Aéropage”. Around 350BC, she was one of the very first women doctors, and a gynecologist. She pretended to be a man; her practice grew and grew, until her competitors accused her of seducing her patients. To prove that she was a woman she disrobed in front of the “Areopage”, a Supreme court of sorts in old Athens. Of course, she was then tried for illegally practicing medicine, a discipline reserved to men, (when will this stop?) until her patients revolted, and she was acquitted. The following year, a law was passed allowing women to study medicine in Athens. (Thank you “kikipedia”). Texas probably hasn’t heard about that. Oh. Am I confusing the issues here?

“Oficina profumo & farmaceutica”. Perfume and Pharmacy. Somewhere on a Paris street. Wait, wait: below it says “Santa María Novella”. Was that stolen from a church in Florence?

“And I looked, and behold, a pale horse, and the one sitting on it, the name of him was Death…” (Revelation 6:8)

Just a simple façade, “Quoâ”. (An idea of a façade? “Wot”? I’m overdoing it? OK.)

The apotheosis of Psyché, led by Hermés/Mercury to Zeus/Jupiter. A ceiling at Carnavalet, by Le Brun, no less. c. 1652.

Boulevard de la Villette, 1955. By Cartier-Bresson. “First of all, Primior, our daily wine.” Must have been a “piquette” (bad wine). On the right of the black gentleman, is a Peugeot 203. My father had one, which I remember very clearly. The car ended in a ditch with us children inside… Very clear slow motion memory. No harm. Just a bruised arm on my side. Driver was fired.

Louis XVI, (1753-1793) great-great-great-etc. grandson of Louis XIII. The portrait was a gift to Monsieur Lenoir, chief of police in 1778. 21 years before the Revolution. (Musée Carnavalet)

Maximilien de Robespierre (1758-1794) was the head of the Terror during the Revolution (with a few others). He ordered the execution of Louis XVI in 1793. Only to be guillotined homself the following year by his rivals, putting an end to the Terror. A shame that most, if not all, revolutions always end up in Terror, we might use a bit of change right now… (As an aside, I never realized the King and his foe were almost the same age.) (Carnavalet)

Captain, crew, and Travellers, thank you for flying with us to the largest museum in the world: Paris. An ‘idea’ à la Houellebecq. (See La carte et le territoire). I can hear the Italians protesting in the back… Yes, yes, come down, Rome, and Florence and many other Italian cities are museums in their own right. I might go as far as saying that Italy is a museum in itself. But that, is another story, “best beloved”. Arrivederci. Au revoir.

74 thoughts on “The ‘idea’ of a museum. Paris.

  1. I love Pont Alexandre bridge photos. They never get old and you feature it often which makes me think you love it too. There is a reason it is a favorite in Paris…

    I like the woman with the blue face. Aydar in Montmartre is a nice one…

    And funny story I once had a fish named Maximilien de Robespierre. I had learned of him in history class and loved his name and thought it was funny every time I referred to the fish. We called him Bob for short. lol.

    • On l’est tous les deux… J’ai trop voyagé (dans des endroits extraordinaires. Qqs autres moins) Pour ne pas reconnaître que Paris est unique…
      Bonne nuit Mélie… 😉 (Ah. Pas encore couchée? Hmmm.)

  2. A very well-curated group of images! Louis XVI has the oddest expression on his face for a portrait. (Wipe that smirk off your face, Louis, before I give you something to smirk about!) The “Bridge over Troubled Waters” figures like as though they’re chatting at the opening of an art exhibit, only without the pretentious clothing. Speaking of the idea of ladders and facades, have you ever read the poem “Postmodern 911” by Tom Wayman?

  3. A fine travel through Paris that brings you to the revelation that the whole of Italy is a museum. 😀 Do not tell anybody that I told you this but I think the French might be a tad more cultured than the Italians. Over here it’s guts and tears and slay and scream and not many read. Ancient Rome all over again, or better still. I saw the Peugeot. This one is older than mine were.

    • I’ve never doubted about Italy. I love the place, the little I know. And I wouldn’t wonder about culture. There are cultured people everywhere and morons too.
      That peugeot 203 was something.
      Ciao ciao.

  4. I liked this trip a lot. You blend different topics and images into a strangely coherent sauce. Funny reading about the Greek doctress and that after her sex being discovered the Greek opened medical school to women. Over here in the Netherlands only in 1871 the first woman was allowed (by special permission of the prime minister) to attend university to become a doctor. Her name was Aletta Jacobs and her bust is in front of the uni in my city of Groningen. Nowadays the majority of the medical world over here is female.

    • Yes to all. France was the same. First women to get a High school diploma was in the 19th century. First doctors too I think. (And they could not vote! Until 1945…)
      All well Peter?
      Tot ziens.

      • I’m good Brian. Had a short trip in my own country and next week I go for a few days to the island where I was born, Ameland, like every year in november. They got ‘art month’ over there, a way to lure visitors to the island in the ‘silent’ post summer months.The art is not always worthwhile, but the neat thing is that one gets to go to every corner of the island and buildings that are otherwise closed for public or only open shortly, like chuches, are accessible. So it’s fun strolling around the place, next to ‘normal’ activities like hikes on the beach and in the dunes, eating pea soup and drinking strong brown Belgian beer, and seeing the light from the light house sweep over the houses of my village and into my soul.

  5. This intrigued me from your post:
    “I like form and I do it. But to me form is just a means to express an idea. Ideas are what I’m looking for. I use form to get to what is shapeless.” Aristide Maillol

    • I’m glad you have become one. To me he was just a sculptor of somewhat plump women in the Tuileries. After a while of looking and looking and visiting his museum… He was a very complete artist.

  6. The pale horse…I think it also a line in a song…I’ve been in the north west and Paris museums just well you know…so different than here, sigh…such beauty and culture 🤓☺️Thank you for sharing with us 🙏sending joy hedy

    • There is also an Agatha Christie novel. It is a powerful phrase, and it has inspired many.
      Like I said before, beauty and culture can be found (almost) everywhere. Good night hedy.

    • Yep. They do. Looking back at History (and memory) I finally come to the conclusion that revolutions or wars are just the ultimate “reset”. Destroy the computer and start something new… Sadly.
      Thanks Mate. Not too bad for a bloody heathen? 🤣🤣🤣

    • Haha! Excellente remarque. Ça va pas tarder. Je viens de lire le mot “venelle” sur un autre blog. Je suppose que si “venelle” est écrit dans un Classique Larousse, elle aura droit à un commentaire de bas de page… De fait, les Classiques Larousse de nos jours ont plus de notes de bas de page que de texte… 😡🤣
      Bonne soirée.

  7. Did you get to go to Carnavalet since it reopened? It was so well done. I could’ve spent the whole day there. Love your pics and captions. You have a unique eye for seeing things others might overlook.

    • Yes, we did, just before the French government shut us out of museums, because the health pass did not take expats into consideration. Took them a fortnight to fix it! Grrr. And yes, Caranavalet has always been one of my favourite museums in Paris. Very well remodeled. We do agree on many things in Paris. Take care Alison.

  8. Robespierre is a guy mr Erdogan and mr Trump ought to think about more often I think… You can pander to the crazies and use them for your political gains; but eventually the crazies will outcrazy you. Thanks for the stroll!

  9. Another very cool post!
    I love the old plaques and the Medical school, Rue des Saint-pères, is great!
    Think you’re starting to receive my email notifications? Or, at least that’s what WP is advising me! 😉

    • I’ve seen those plaques many times walking around Saint-Germain. But that time we stayed right around the corner, so I would take a few plaques at a time. They’re quite amazing.
      Don’t know yet about you blog notifications, I seem to have some trouble with WP. (And I haven’t checked my mail in days…) Will let you know… A presto

  10. A fabulous trip around the open air gallery on the Seine, thanks Brian. When the weather is a little better, paris is very much on my visit list (pandemic allowing).

  11. Another grand tour of Parisian Street Art. I especially like the ‘pale horse’, one of the four horses of the Apocalypse in Revelation. Was also fascinated by the story of the lady who pretended to be a man so she could work as a doctor. Women were obviously second-class citizens in 350 BC and still are in some countries today. Thank you for the learning curve, which I am enjoying very much.

  12. The city of art ~ yes. My thoughts of Paris art is always the Louvre, with your tours of the city you’ve provided us all, I see such exciting and vibrant art I could never before have imagined. Waking up next to the “woman in blue” and to be able to walk around the city with creativity on every street. Amazing work, Brian, and learned something that made me smile: your intro to “Agnodice, woman doctor, facing the Aéropage”.Cheers to a great day ahead!

    • Thanks Dalo. Paris is so “easy” to walk around. Something around every corner. And those medallions on the Medical school have taught me a lot too. Just researching the names on the sculpture.
      take care.

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