Thursday, August 3, 2017

Paris Journal: Dimanche du musée libre

Free-museum Sunday

By Moristotle

A number of websites announce that admission to Paris’s museums is “free the first Sunday of the month.” This can’t be literally true. The website My Parisian Life: Your City Guide to Life in Paris has a section titled, “List of all the free museums on 1st Sundays in Paris.” And the list distinguishes the 16 museums free “on the 1st Sunday of every month” from the one free only from March through October and the seven free only from November through March. And, somehow, the total of only 24 museums in Paris doesn’t seem like a big enough number...Maybe I should google “Paris museums that are never free on first Sunday.”

Anyway, in planning our trip to Paris this year, we decided to take advantage of first-Sunday and visit the Musée Gustave Moreau, which we had found closed in April 2016. If you’re wondering who Gustave Moreau is, and why we wanted to visit a museum dedicated to him, you may be in the same boat we were in before reading Edmund White’s book, The Flâneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris, which I guess we borrowed from a UNC library, because I can’t find it now, or I would quote from the passage that piqued our interest in the Gustave Moreau Museum. Something about White’s enthusiasm for things Moreau must have decided us....
    White’s book is not the book that our friend Mark recommended to us. He had told us when we met him in 2015 that “Ina Caro’s book [Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train] is the Gold Standard for us when it comes to Adjacent Excursions.” [Ina’s husband is Robert Caro, the eminent biographer of Lyndon Johnson, and her book mentions Robert a lot as, together, they travel through France’s past.]
    Mark comments now of White’s book that “it is more about himself than the city.” In fact, he added, “I’m not into Gustave Moreau’s style of painting, nor have I visited his museum, being more of a Monet/Manet man myself.”

Click image to enlarge; there’s
a paragraph in English
Well, the same goes for Carolyn and me; we know, now, that Gustave Moreau is not our kind of painter. Nevertheless, after a short rest after our first-Sunday’s morning walk around Sacré-Coeur, we took the local metro line to its third stop southward (Saint Georges) and walked the few blocks to 14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld, passing again (as we had in 2016) the building with a plaque stating that the German composer Richard Wagner lived there from October 1860 until July 1861.

    Because the metro ride home was so short, and I never got back to my diary for June 4, our visit to the Gustave Moreau Museum is told in captioned pictures only:

Moreau’s bedroom (see plaque below)

Another photo from the bedroom

Another household room (by the way,
after seeing a few of these rooms, Carolyn
decided I could go upstairs by myself

Lower of the two large rooms comprising Moreau’s atelier
(or artist’s studio) (note the spiral staircase at the far end)

Stairway ends at the top floor of Moreau’s atelier

View of top floor from the stairs

View from the opposite end from the stairs

Close-up of the area heater shown in the photo above
(unless it’s the heater at the other end, near the stairs)

I label this one “perhaps Moreau’s busiest painting”

Leda and the Swan” was a popular mythical subject
(there’s just something about a male god’s changing
into a bird in order to have sex with a woman

I think this was my favorite painting by Moreau
(explanation below)

I was just taken by the white outlining!
(like Leda by the swan, I guess)

I wasn’t the only one visiting upstairs, but there weren’t many

Copyright © 2017 by Moristotle

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