Mona Lisa goes to America

In 1963, primarily thanks to the then first Lady Jackie Kennedy’s hard work to get the painting to the US, the French government allowed Leonardo da Vinci’s  (born in Vinci Italy 1452 died in France 1519) masterpiece Mona Lisa or ‘La Gioconda’ (Italian, in French – La Jocondeas the painting is also called, to be lent to the United States to be on display in Washington D.C. and New York City. Mona Lisa was displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and after that in New York city at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting made it’s way to the U.S. via ship in a climate controlled container and with heavy security. The ship carrying the painting was escorted into New York City by the US Coast Guard serving as added protection from potential thieves. The painting was in 1962 valued at $100,000,000.00 (100 million dollars) for the insurance needed for the trip.

The woman in the portrait is believed to be that of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who was a silk merchant from Florence Italy. Her name was  Lisa del Giocondo and the portrait was commissioned by her husband in celebration of the birth of their second son. La Gioconda (feminine of the last name Giocondo) means something along the lines of happy or jovial and the title is thought to be a play on words. It is believed to have been painted mainly between 1503 and 1506. The painting was never placed in the Giocondo home as was the purpose when it was commissioned. Leonardo is thought to have brought the unfinished painting with him to France, where he as an artist and painter was invited in 1516 by King Francois I. Leonardo likely finished the painting while in France and the painting remained there after Leonardo’s death. Leonardo left Mona Lisa to his assistant and it was purchased from him by King Francois I for 4,000 gold coins.  Francois I placed it in his palace at Fontainebleau where it remained for about 100 years. Louis XIV brought it to Versailles when it was made into the Royal residence in 1682. After the French revolution 1789-1799) it hung in Napoleon’s bedroom at the Tuileries for 4 years and then made it’s way to the Louvre in 1804 where it still has a permanent home to the joy of millions of visitors each year.

Mona Lisa or La Gioconda at the Louvre in 2013.
Mona Lisa or La Gioconda at the Louvre in 2013.

As with all the facts regarding the painting, when it was painted and who the subject really was, nothing is certain or definitively proven and much is conjecture after studies done on the matter, so keep this in mind when reading this.

César – artiste extraordinaire

Centre Pompidou is currently having a great retrospect of the late French artist César (Baldaccini) whose most famous work is his thumb in different sizes and different materials. Once you have seen this exhibit you will however realize that even though le Pouce is his most famous work, it is only one of a multitude of works in different materials and techniques. He has crushed/compressed, expanded, welded, sculpted, and he has poured. César was born in Marseille in 1921 and he went to art school at first in Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Marseilles and later transferred to École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In Paris he met among others, Picasso and he lived in the same building as Giacometti which both influenced him strongly. César’s works were in the area of what was regarded as Nouveau Realisme and he sometimes fabricated from scraps and found things. César died in Paris in 1988 at the age of 77. Read more about Centre Pompidou and become a member here.

Le Pouce de César.
Le Pouce de César.
A César bird.
A César bird.
Compressed Renault.
Compressed Renault.
Flattened auto.
Flattened auto.
A pour of resin.
A pour of resin.
The 15 ft high Bronze of le pouce at La Defense.
The 15 ft high Bronze of le pouce at La Defense.

 

Centre Pompidou – Notre Dame de la Tuyauterie

Centre Pompidou from the street.
Centre Pompidou from the street.
Panoramic_view_mainEntrance
Panoramic_view_mainEntrance

Built 1977 on the initiative of then president of France, George Pompidou. Centre George Pompidou – Musée national d’art moderne as the proper name is, celebrates 40 years this year 2017.  It was not without controversy when it was built since it was a very modern and industrial looking building.  As the blog title indicate it was among many different things called Notre Dame de la Tuyauterie (Our lady of the pipes). This was mainly due to the exposed mechanical systems and a lot of exposed ducts and other mechanical system parts – some compared it to an oil refinery.  Architects: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Gianfranco Franchini, Ove Arup, Peter Rice, Mike Davies, Su Rogers

Centre Pompidou from the main entrance side.
Centre Pompidou from the main entrance side.
Césqr le pouce - "the thumb" outside the centre Pompidou during the César exhibit.
César le pouce – “the thumb” outside the centre Pompidou during the César exhibit.
The sculpture garden outside the Centre Pompidou.
The sculpture garden outside the Centre Pompidou.
Centre Pompidou lines on Wednesday December 27 2017 - a rainy day in Paris.
Centre Pompidou lines on Wednesday December 27 2017 – a rainy day in Paris.

Just remember that if you bring an umbrella (at least a full-size one), a backpack etc. you will also have to be in line for the coatcheck which can be quite long on rainy days – be smart and wear a rain jacket and no backpack!

George Pompidou in the main entrance hallway.
George Pompidou in the main entrance hallway.
Centre Pompidou is 40 this year.
Centre Pompidou is 40 this year.
Gathering, by Daniel Firman.
Gathering, by Daniel Firman.
Chez Georges restaurant on the top floor has nice views of Paris and good food, even vegetarian options.
Chez Georges restaurant on the top floor has nice views of Paris and good food, even vegetarian options.

Paris oh la la

Paris – ville lumière. During the Christmas season this takes on a slightly different meaning than the one that suggest it is the city of enlightenment as in centre of education, when all the lights shine in unison it is not too far fetched to interpret “ville lumière” as city of lights…

The Eiffel tower on December 26 2017.
The Eiffel tower on December 26 2017.

The upscale shopping center Galeries Lafayette in Paris is decked out for the holidays. The after Christmas Sales are on and if you go inside you will find one of the most elaborate displays ever.

Galeries Lafayette on Rue Lafayette,
Galeries Lafayette on Rue Lafayette.

The magical display inside Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Below is a still picture of the display.

Galeries Lafayette Christmas display.
Galeries Lafayette Christmas display.

Here is a look down Boulevard Hausmann by the Galeries Lafayette:

Boulevard Hausmann by the Galeries Lafayette.
Boulevard Hausmann by the Galeries Lafayette.

A beautiful art deco Metro station entrance:

Metro entrance to line 3 Parmentier stop.
Metro entrance to line 3 Parmentier stop.

Another look at the ever so beautiful Eiffel tower:

Eiffel tower Paris.
Eiffel tower Paris.
Eiffel tower from the butte de Montmartre and Sacré Coeur.
Eiffel tower from the butte de Montmartre and Sacré Coeur.
Sacré Coeur.
Sacré Coeur.
La Opera de Paris.
La Opera de Paris.
La Opera de Paris sculpture.
La Opera de Paris sculpture.
Arc de Triomphe as seen from atop Galleries Lafayette.
Arc de Triomphe as seen from atop Galleries Lafayette.
Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe.
Le Escargo Montorgueil. Leaves no doubt of what is served here!
Le Escargo Montorgueil. Leaves no doubt of what is served here!
Le Moulin Rouge in Montmartre.
Le Moulin Rouge in Montmartre.
Le Grand Rex Theatre
Le Grand Rex Theatre. 
Musée du Louvre
Musée du Louvre. 
Musée du Louvre - an animal in the interior parts guarding a grand staircase.
Musée du Louvre – an animal in the interior parts guarding a grand staircase.
Notre-Dame de Paris western facade.
Notre-Dame de Paris western facade.
La Seine and la tour Eiffel.
La Seine and la tour Eiffel.