Saturday 3 January 2015

Still crazy after all these years

Quick (because the train home would not wait) visit to the Louvre during the holidays.

With little time there is no way to see many sections, so after the African rooms (mostly because the queue to get in there was shorter than at the main entrance), onwards to ancient Greece.

And, despite many previous sightings, it still comes as a shock. From the archaic, xoanon copies with strong Egyptian influence -which are by all means interesting by themselves- what a jump to the Hellenistic period, and their expressive attitudes!

In several of the rooms, you just want to stop in awe at many of the sculptures. No wonder artists of the Renaissance went crazy about them.So many incredible details were captured and are still visible -it makes me wonder how far some of the sculptors may have gone: Bernini's efforts in the 1600s are arguably much more delicate, but would also not have survived had they been carved in antique Athens (there is no way the small laurels there would have coped with the tumultuous destiny of Greek statues). We may not see their most ambitious efforts, and yet we are in awe.

It is such a contrast to the stability of Egyptian art (I know, there were religious reasons behind their stability and, in contrast, Greek evolutions) to witness this comparatively rapid change, laying the foundations for so much of later art.

Even a quick visit is always good use of your time. The Louvre may be oversized, often overcrowded, it certainly is not overhyped.

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