Wednesday, January 6, 2010

l'art

So I have been in Paris for four days and it is still irresistable.

On my second day I visited the Louvre, which is magnificent. I am not an artist and haven't been educated (or educated myself) in art history or appreciation, however I was awed and fascinated by the amazing artworks. Panini's Galerie de Vues de la Rome Moderne and Galerie de Vues de la Rome Antique, Caron's The Massacres of the Triumvirate and Reni's The Abduction of Hélène were some of my favourites. The palace itself is so lavish and grand, like nothing you would ever see in Australia! I loved the way the artworks gave insight into the way people lived their lives throughout history (although, of course, it was restricted predominantly to the elite, ruling classes and how they wanted the world to be portrayed). I also loved the way that some of the artists, commissioned by rich aristocrats, secretly added their own subtle messages to the paintings and sculptures.

The Massacres of the Triumvirate by Antoine Caron

The Abduction of Hélène by Guido Reni

Galerie de Vues de la Rome Moderne by Giovanni Paolo Panini

Yesterday I climbed the Eiffel Tower and visited Musee D'Orsay, which I loved even more than the Louvre. I found it easier to connect with the modern art (particularly since I knew of a lot more of the artists!), and I adored the museum itself, which has been converted from a gorgeous old train station. The Impressionist paintings were amazing especially, of course, Van Gogh and Monet. My favourite was Monet's Femmes au Jardin, which is just so pretty and elaborate. Of course, like all the paintings, you have to see them in person to truly appreciate their mastery!

Femmes au Jardin by Claude Monet

With all this talk of female body image lately, I have to say that visiting these art galleries has been eye-opening. It is only in recent times that the portrayal of women in the media has been restricted to those who are thin, with symmetrical features and strong bone structure. Countless artworks I have come across on this trip - the majority of which, of course, were created by men - have depicted women, who are not at all "beautiful" (at least by today's standards), in such a celebratory, yet frank and sincere, way. The curves and softness of a woman's body is emphasised, and they did not shy away from depicting exposed breasts, legs or stomachs. Breastfeeding was also painted beautifully and lovingly. Hair is natural (frizzy, mousey-coloured hair was common), skin is pale and faces are often not what we would consider "pretty". I suppose the message is twofold: premièrement, beauty is subjective and our perception of what is beautiful has shifted dramatically across time and cultures; ensuite, perfection has not always been - and should not be - revered and aspired to despite what contemporary media would have us believe. These tender, honest depictions of women looking beautiful because they are real is so enlightening and reassuring to me.

"It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly."
— Claude Monet

P.S. Two of my favourite bloggers, Tom and Lorenzo, have just posted Elle Canada magazine's stunning editorial featuring the beautiful Crystal Renn: http://is.gd/5ONzd. Please take a look :)

4 comments:

google_account said...

I've always been a fan of fuller-figured models. There's a great site with many images of Crystal and other plus-size models here:

http://www.judgmentofparis.com/

They're all gorgeous.

The site's forum also has thought-provoking discussions about body image and the media.

Laura Valerie said...

Thank you so much, I will visit for sure :) x

alanna said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alisha

http://sketchingdrawing.com

Pinkcupcake! xo said...

Sounds like you are having a magical trip honey!! Can't wait to hear more about it when you come back. Also dying to know what beauty finds you have discovered and also whether you have got your Chanel Ballet Shoes or not!! Much love and safe travels xo