Once I tore myself away from the stone tablets in the Islamic wing of the Louvre, Avia led the way to one piece she wanted to revisit.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is, for all it’s incompleteness, is one of the most graceful and beautiful sculptures I’ve ever seen. I wonder if I would have such a visceral reaction to the flowing lines and the feeling of movement and grace if she did have a face?
And I wonder if she is yet another national treasure, spirited away during the Turkish occupation of Greece to a foreign land. Anybody know? She was excavated by the French consul and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, in 1863 who sent her right away to Paris. Her setting here is certainly magnificent!
I can’t help but think though, if this beauty, and so many of the other magnificent sculptures from ancient Greece were still IN Greece, would there be crowds like this there?
The next thing I really remember is turning a corner and gasping for breath thinking – it’s SO beautiful as I looked at a painting/fresco. Then I did the inner gasp thing again, thinking to myself, is this a Botticelli!?
Looked down at the title card and sure enough, there is the name. Coming face to face with favorite works from several college art history classes many many many years ago can be disarming. There truly is no way to capture the essence of a work, especially a large scale work, in the pages of a book. The figures in this fresco were almost life size if I’m remembering correctly.
Then there are works that might make as much of an impact in a book, because they are tiny in real life. And – who wants to fight that crowd to get a glimpse? That was shoulder to shoulder, push your way through. Not my favorite way to see art. So technically I DID see the Mona Lisa. But no, I didn’t think it was worth it to fight the crowd.