Friday, June 3, 2011

Quai Branly, Maison de Verre and Musee D'Orsay

Today we roamed Paris and saw some of its hidden attractions as well as the large museums such as Quai Branly and Musee D'Orsay. We also had the experience to view the radical 1920's home, Maison de Verre.

Quai Branly was our first stop of the day. This has to be the largest museum of native artifacts I have ever seen. The entire collection is housed in an ultra modern building which was erected in approximately 2005. This building does not hint to what the museum contains. Yet as one enters the museum it becomes clear to the viewer that this is not an ordinary art museum. Instead of white walls and intense bright lighting, this museum is dark and moody. The wall colors shift between deep primary colors and the lighting only highlights the pieces on display instead of also lighting up the floor. This museum has  an attitude which I have never seen before in a museum.

Quai Branly

The construction of Maison de Verre started in 1928 when the owners wanted to update their living space. Instead of doing a simple update they decided to tear down the two floors of the building they owned and insert a new modern villa. At the time of the construction this building was a completely radical idea. The facade was created using glass blocks and the entire house was designed around that the home is a machine for living. This entire house was handcrafted by a group of select artisans. I was agog as to how well this building has survived the last eighty years.

Maison de Verre

Currently Musee D'Orsay is showing a special exhibit of Manets. This show begins with Manet's career and beginnings of his artistic vision. Once I walked into the exhibit was surprised by the color of the walls which they decided to use. Instead of white, they chose to used strange ultra bright pinks, yellows and teals. I thought that this clashed with this work. Despite this I didn't make it far into the exhibit. Instead I stopped two rooms in when I saw Manet's most famous piece, Olympia. I was enamored by the way in which Manet rendered this painting. The hand in the center is clearly the sharpest, most refined part of the painting. For the rest he used minimal amounts of brushstrokes which have the perfect amount of flow and detail.

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