Don’t look at me in that tone of voice…

26 12 2011

… it smells a funny colour!

No idea why I remember that. Something I picked up in my English class, aged about 12. The desks still had ink wells. It’s true. We didn’t use them any more since the invention of ink cartridges, but a “proper pen” was still required. Anyway, this topic is fine art. Stop yawning, you at the back!

My eldest daughter is now 18 going on 19. Already far more mature than I’ll ever be. When she was a babe in arms, Air France were doing a deal to encourage UK tourists to visit Paris. A couple of nights in an hotel by Gare Montparnasse. Fortunately the crash of 1895 had long since been cleared away. Even French unions have their members do some work.

Wikipedia: Montparnasse train crash 1895

Wikipedia: Montparnasse train crash 1895

We had a lovely time walking around, doing the the tourist thing. We spent a lot of time in the L’Ouvre and Musée d’Orsay, typically going “Oo – I know that one”, and “Isn’t it small in real life?” To this day I’m impressed by an American tourist who tried to ask for directions in French. The look of relief on his face when I not only understood, but could reply in English with only a slightly worse accent than a Frenchman was priceless.

Somehow I ended up on the web site for Musée d’Orsay today. It has an online catalogue for all their exhibits, and I passed an idle few minutes (OK an hour or more), perusing their 5069 photographed paintings.

Towards the end (page 228 of 242), I came across this one and stopped dead. I’m sure it looks magnificent in the flesh, but even at this resolution, it is striking. I’m sure a more caring photographer could do it real justice.

Musée d'Orsay: Madame de Loynes

The painting was done in 1862 by one Eugène Emmanuel Amaury Duval, who by all accounts was a dab hand with his “painting by numbers” set. His subject, Madame de Loynes seems to have recently cut herself shaving, and be less than pleased at the viewer viewing! Her gaze is piercing. I love her bracelet though. Most golden. More about her can be found on the French Wikipedia par ici. Though “Google translate” has a game try at is, I suggest you use your own French translation (see Eddie Izzard elsewhere), unless “she was used to rinse the bottles of champagne” is correct, in which case I have a lot of respect for her dexterity.

 

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