France Part 1: Venus, goddess of love that you are …June 18, 2010 at 7:09 AM | Posted in France | Leave a comment
We only had one day for the Louvre due to their very French practice of taking days off (more on this in a future blog) and so I planned to focus on the two Vermeer’s and French painters such as Watteau, Ingres, David and particularly Chardin. In this I was well-rewarded as their works are great and to my taste. I learned that Chardin was linked to Vermeer by their way of distilling the quiet moment. This is the type of connection — what Henry James referred to as the “shock of recognition” — that makes the getting-on-planes to study art so worthwhile.
We left the Louvre for lunch and went back for another inning. We decided to take a look at the Venus de Milo as we had stopped by to see the Mona Lisa in the morning. I had to assume that I would never be back to the Louvre and needed to, at least, peek in at the famous ladies.
There is not a moat around Venus as there is around her Italian younger sister and so you can get up close, looking at her from every angle — and every angle pays. She is a transcendant beauty but, to me, she doesn’t look Greek in the way that Maria Callas looked Greek. She is forever blond, athletic yet soft, defined but without angles or the hint of a mustache.
Venus, the real one, the one in the heavens with Zeus, is quite a sexy minx and as the song by Frankie Avalon reminds me, she is the goddess of love but I thought that was back in the old days, in those pre-family-values heavens. But look how her bed sheets are falling; see her from behind — she is real!