La Musée de Louvre

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I’m not actually into art history per se, but I have some very specific interests that I was hoping to see at the Louvre (Iranian steppe nomads). I couldn’t find any of them on display (they don’t have many artifacts related to them, which is a shame because they have some beautiful Animal Style artwork), but I did see some stuff with similar themes in the section about ancient Iran. I ended up not seeing much of the Louvre because my feet were killing me thanks to the giant blisters that had formed walking through Bois de Boulogne that morning. Otherwise I would’ve gone through the Islamic, Ancient Egyptian, and Greek sections and stopped by their Van Gogh paintings. Stupid new shoes…Why do they always feel better when you try them on in the store?

I bought my ticket beforehand and I highly recommend you do the same. Instead of going through the main entrance–

Crazy big crowd and crazy long wait to get in at the main entrance

Crazy big crowd and crazy long wait to get in at the main entrance

–you can go in a side entrance and skip the crowds and the wait.

The Porte des Lions entrance

The Porte des Lions entrance

All the people in this picture? None of them are going into the Louvre. People were just passing underneath the arch on their way elsewhere. The line to get in was literally (and I mean it in the real sense of the word) nonexistent.

There’s a section on the Americas (and I think Africa was there as well) just inside this entrance. I passed by this little guy on the way to the stairs.

The grumpy face on this Mesoamerican figurine was too cute not to take a picture of

The grumpy face on this Mesoamerican figurine was too cute not to take a picture of

And by the way, the stairs? There are way too many of them in the Louvre. Supposedly it has…I think there were four floors on the map. But in actuality, it was who knows how many sub-floors all randomly attached to one another by staircases going every which way. I kept thinking I’d gotten turned around and was going to a different floor, but nope. Whoever designed the place was just crazy and sadistic.

Here's a  view from inside the main entrance of more of the crowd I avoided

Here’s a view from inside the main entrance of more of the crowd I avoided

Despite not finding what I was looking for, there was still some cool stuff from distantly related and geographically nearby cultures.

Asian griffins are much cooler than European griffins. This one is a Babylonian griffin. Scythian griffins have eagle heads, no horns, and fins down the spines of their necks.

Asian griffins are much cooler than European griffins. This one is a Babylonian? or was it Assyrian? griffin. Scythian (one of the steppe cultures) griffins have eagle heads, no horns, and some have fins down the spines of their necks.

One thing you sometimes see in steppe Animal Art is animals twisted into other shapes–either to fill the space, like in an openwork belt buckle, or to create a sort of meta-animal. Sometimes you see this in nearby cultures as well because they were connected to the steppes via trade routes which carried goods and art back and forth.

Ibexes...or deer?

Steppe Animal Style from a sedentary culture

The above look like deer heads at first glance, but on closer inspection–

UntitledThey’re each actually a pair of ibexes (some with extra dragon or ibex heads popping out of strange places; the above has dragons). The extra heads are actually pretty common too. You often see deer with elaborate antlers ending in griffin heads in steppe artwork.

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