The Louvre and the pyramids

JMA_Louvre_036

The facade of one of the entrances to the Louvre palace and in front one of the smaller pyramids. One of my favourite photos from this place taken in the Summer of 2016. It has it all. While looking at the Louvre palace and the pyramids one sees usually the overall picture, not putting attention to detail. But in fact, the Louvre facade is decorated in such an opulent way that only few other buildings in Europe can compare. You can see it only if you put the attention or if you have that many photos of it that you start notice while truly processing them.  


More on the Louvre >>>

Liberty Leading the People. A short recollection of historical events in revolutionary France

While visiting Louvre, as usually I do in museums I photographed a number of paintings just to remember the visit. One of them was the famous Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix depicting events that took place in Paris in 1830. I remembered having seen the painting many times during history lessons, as being symbolic for the French revolution it is usually reprinted in school books.

A topless woman being a French symbol for the Liberty is leading Parisians under the tricolor banner that stands for liberty (blue), equality (white), and fraternity (red) during the July revolution of 1830.

There is also an alternate symbolism behind the French national colours: blue stands for bourgeoisie, white for clergy and red for the nobility. The division corresponds to the three estate classification that preserved for centuries in historical Europe. Clergy was the First Estate, nobles were the Second Estate and peasants and bourgeoisie were the Third Estate.

Louvre. A painting by Eugene Delacroix. Liberty Leading the People. It is depicting the events of the second wave of the French Revolution that took place in 1830.

The painting is that well known that it is easy to forget that it depicts the second wave of the French revolution (of 1830) and not the events that took place forty years earlier.

  • The French revolution (known as the First French Revolution) commonly associated among others with storming and demolition of the Bastille took place in 1789. The Bastille Day, which is the 14th of July, is celebrated today as the French National Day. The Revolution began as during a political impasse the Third Estate (bourgeoisie) formed into a National Assembly (13 June 1789).
  • It took however more than three years of political turmoil till the French proclaimed the First Republic (21 September 1792) abolishing the monarchy. The act was undertaken by a National Convention elected under the first male universal suffrage in France. This did not however end the political turmoil.
  • In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte took power in the Republic and finally turned France into the French Empire. With his defeat and the Congress of Vienna (1815) >>> the monarchy was reestablished in France with another Bourbon king on the French throne.
  • Bourbons were overthrown by the July revolution of 1830, the one that was depicted by Delacroix. One king was however replaced by another. (By the way, the events of July revolution inspired Belgians who after years of struggle finally got their independence in 1830. >>>)
  • The monarchy under the House of Orleans lasted till 1848, when after removal of an unpopular king, the Second Republic was proclaimed.
  • The Second Republic was yet again seized by yet another Bonaparte, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who was Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew. Once again France turned into an Empire (1852).
  • Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was removed in 1870 in times of Franco-Prussian war that was fought further by the Government of National Defence under the auspices of the Third Republic. The times of monarchies in France were finally over.

Index of posts on France  >>>

Sabines

Sabines, a name which was since always part of my vocabulary. But, I never did much thought to its origin. For me it was the name of premises in the university campus where I used to party. An the parties were cool. Quite cool. This year while sightseeing in Louvre I had however a kind of eureka feeling about it.


The Louvre. Paris.

The Intervention of the Sabine Women by Jacques-Louis David


Being in an art gallery I have a habit to choose one piece or two that I like, make a photograph to better remember the visit and the place. You cannot simply remember it all. One of the paintings I liked much, quite a huge one, was the Intervention of the Sabine women by Jaques-Louis David, one of the greatest French masters, who lived in times of the first French revolution and the Napoleonic times.

Sabines are a part of legends around the Kingdom of Rome (the predecessor of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire >>>). As Romulus, the first king of Rome established the city, it was only him and his warriors. To settle down they needed wives. So, Romulus and his warriors went on a quest and kidnapped women of a tribe called Sabine, who lived not that far from Rome. Sometime later the Sabine men raided Rome to free their women. But those were already wives and mothers, not keen to leave their new homes. So they placed themselves between the fighting parties, a scene depicted by David on his famous painting. There are some other versions of this legend in circulation, but as all annals of the Kingdom of Rome were lost in an enemy raid, we cannot confirm whether this legend is a historical fact or not. Sabine tribe is however historically confirmed.

Index of posts on Rome  >>>  and on France >>>