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Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Louvre by Margot Justes

The Louvre. The one and only. One of the most-if not-the most renowned museum in the world. A ‘must see’ for every tourist visiting Paris.

Yes, it is magnificent, colossal and overwhelming. It is one of those museums where you stand in the center and breathlessly say where do I go first? What must I see this visit? For you cannot possibly see everything. The rush is on. And what a rush it is.

Set in the glorious Tuilerie gardens, the massive Romanesque structure beckons you in. But wait, before you even go inside-look around you-you’re standing in front of I.M. Pei’s fantastic glass pyramid that serves as the entrance to the museum. Stunning. A work of art in itself.

Pose for a few minutes, savor and admire-the juxtaposition of the old and the new. It shouldn’t work-but it does, the striking contrast gives an impression of openness and seems to magnify the size of the structure. An illusion to be sure, that adds to the already gigantic size of the museum.

Most tourists visit a well known friend - the Mona Lisa. Her visitors have increased (if that is possible-it is) since the Dan Brown book came out. She has been overwhelmed by admirers. Step back and listen to the ooh’s and aah’s as the tourists stand in front and marvel at the masterpiece. Maybe like many others you have a copy of the Da Vinci Code with you and are trying to find the clues. Imagine the possibilities.

And here I go…I have seen the painting quite a few times and have read, heard lectures about her hands, the enigmatic smile, the eyes, the mystery, the total encapsulating image.

The painting is a masterpiece to be sure, an elegant portrait. I’m probably the only one who doesn’t see the mystery. The only one who sees a forced smile. The only one who sees hands that have not seen hard work. I do not see a mystery. I see a classic portrait of a well to do woman. Passive. Removed. And maybe that is part of the mystery. Visit and you decide.

For me that is what art is all about. I’m not expert-just an admirer of the talent involved in putting an idea on canvas and making it work. Startle the viewer. Discuss. Become creative in what and how the viewer sees. Make me think. Wonder. So many endless possibilities…

Of course there is more, you’ll meet Venus De Milo, standing poised, ready to be admired. And there is much to admire. You’ll see Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, a magnificent painting. Stirring. Hair raising bravery. A Must see.

Next week, I’ll let write about my favorite piece. You knew there would be a favorite, didn’t you?

Till next Time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
Heat of the Moment ISBN 978-1-59080-596-1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Unique Museum by Margot Justes

I had a radio interview last Wednesday and was asked a really good question-Jena O’Connor of KORN 1490 AM Let’s Talk actually read my book and liked it, hence the question-what makes the Rodin Museum unique-what makes it standout and different from the rest?

And for once I was quick on my feet…it’s still a work in progress-the thinking on my feet part.

For me it is matchless in its intimacy-his incredible work aside-the gardens are magnificent, the sculptures appear to you from unexpected places, it is relaxing, not chaotic, your eye wonders but there is none of the panic of what shall I see first or next.

As a visitor you tend to relax, take your time. Savor. Enjoy. You’re among friends. You’re not overwhelmed. Look at the Thinker-thought and muscle? Or is it? What would you see?

Once you’ve wondered through the gardens, you’re now ready to enter his home. Some pieces have been left as a work in progress, ready for the master to return and finish. That is entirely my impression, probably because his presence can still be felt, at least by me.
The Kiss, hard cold marble generating a tremendous amount of heat. Passionate. The lovers wrapped in an ardent embrace, totally oblivious of others. If you’re lucky enough to be there, stand in front and decide if you agree with the critics and pundits-was it just a woman submitting to the man? Or is there more, much more.

The Hand of God, flowing, smooth, compelling. Can you feel the magic of the hand rising out of the un-worked marble? The hard, cold stone holds such magnificent power.

Walk through the house and listen to the creaking floor boards and imagine the beginning of life in the creative process.

Till next Time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
Heat of the Moment ISBN 978-1-59080-596-1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring in Paris by Margot Justes

Any time is a good time to go to Paris. Rain, shine, hot or cold, Paris never loses its charm. But spring is a glorious time to visit; in fact Charles Aznavour sang a song about Paris in May and because it’s almost spring and we’re going on a journey. Let your imagination soar, cross the Atlantic and voila-we’re there.

Picture yourself standing at the Place de la Concorde; looking straight ahead to the Arc de Triomphe standing guard, the Champs-Elysees beckon, walk up that grand tree lined shopping Mecca…but wait, rather than throw yourself into the jostling tourist crowds, there is gentler, quieter introduction to Paris. One, I promise won’t disappoint; more introspective, passionate and exquisite. Romance pure and simple, after all we’re in Paris.

Go to the Rodin Museum, walk, take a cab, the Metro, anyway you see fit, but get there.
Even before you enter the intimate museum, you can get a glimpse of the treasures within through the glass wall. Yes, a glass wall allows you to see the backs of the Burghers of Calais. Can you think of a better enticement?

Enter through the old doors and you’re in Rodin’s gardens, visiting his home. The Gates of Hell, the massive portals greet you coming in and going out; it is a portal as no other.
Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, they are magnificent. An endeavor that took almost four decades, bears an unforgettable semblance of chaos-Rodin was thought to believe that hell is not only a place for the dead but the living as well. The agony, will to survive, beauty, horror-it’s all there for you to see.

Wonder through the gardens, sit on the bench in front of the Thinker and strike a pose. He’s there in the elements right in the midst of the gardens. Stroll further and meet Balzac. Sit down in the outdoor cafĂ© and sip a delicious cup of coffee, listen to the birds chirp and look around you-treasures abound. The Burghers of Calais await your visit, an incredible sculpture depicting men willing to sacrifice their lives to save their village. The heartbreaking sorrow reflected in their faces is simply astounding.

For me the urge to touch and savor a piece of sculpture is always there, whether it’s smooth and flowing or harsh and gnarly, doesn’t matter, I just feel the need to touch. But it wasn’t till I was introduced to Rodin’s work that I saw passion portrayed with such force-agony with such poignancy-hope and survival with such strength.

His work moves me beyond the norm…each sinew, rope, muscle is so well defined-his mastery of reaching the depth of emotion pulls me in and tugs.

We’re by no means done with Rodin, next week we’ll go inside his home.

Till next Time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris ISBN 978-1-59080-534-3
Art brought her to Paris, then a stranger’s death changes her life.
Missing ISBN 978-1-59080-611 1
Heat of the Moment ISBN 978-1-59080-596-1
www.mjustes.com
available on amazon.com