April 01, 2013

"A" is for Art

This is Day 1 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

My first topic is Art, but not only the great masterpieces hanging in the galleries of London, Paris and Florence; I include its interpretations on the streets of Europe.

Mention great art and the first thing to spring to mind may be the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, hanging in the Louvre in Paris.

The Mona Lisa, Paris

Most people are surprised by the diminutive dimensions of the painting. And she is restrained behind a railing and bullet-proof glass as crowds jostle for a better look at her.

More accessible, The Thinker stands in a rose garden at the Musée Rodin in Paris. It is one of many original bronze casts located in museums around the world.

The Thinker, Paris

The real sculpture of David by Michelangelo stands isolated in an alcove at the Accademia Gallery in Florence. But I favor the copy in its original location, among the people, outside the Palazzo Vecchio on Signoria Square.

Michelangelo's David, Florence

Only a few blocks away from David, I came across performance art in this street performer:

Florence Street Performer

Due to a last-minute change in plans, I never made it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to see the works of Sandro Botticelli. But fortunately I saw one of his paintings, The Birth of Venus, rendered in chalk on a sidewalk outside the National Gallery in London.

The Birth of Venus in Chalk, London

Another well-known artist, Vincent Van Gogh, lived in the town of Arles and was later hospitalized in St. Remy-de-Provence but none of his original work is exhibited here. The visitor must rely on reproductions scattered around the sites in Provence where they were painted.

Les Oliviers, St. Remy-de-Provence

If you want to see a real Van Gogh, the nearest exhibit is in Paris at the Musée d'Orsay – home to 25 of his paintings and worth a visit prior to a tour of Provence.

Musée d'Orsay, Paris

And if you're visiting the Musée d'Orsay, there are a number of works by one of my favorite Impressionists, Pierre Auguste Renoir. A tour of Montmartre will take you to the houses where he and other artists once lived and worked.

Montmartre, Paris

An excellent book about the time in which Renoir lived is The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland. My favorite Renoir painting is Bal du Moulin de la Galette and the setting for this painting still stands in Montmartre today.

Le Moulin de la Galette, Paris
Le Moulin - The Windmill

Unfortunately many museums and art galleries don't allow visitors to take photographs of their paintings, but sculptures and street art allow their admirers to get up close and personal.

Button Art, Nice


"A" is also for Arlee Bird,
the founder of the Challenge.
Thank you Arlee for my first blog hop!

Next: "B" is for Bridge


  1. Art really makes the world that much more beautiful! That street performer would have been a trip!

    Dani @ Entertaining Interests

  2. Yes, he made me do a double take.


  3. Faye, what a great post -- all those fabulous photos, now I really want to get back to Europe!
    The David is my favorite sculpture -- no matter how often I've seen it (not to mention the many copies), walking into the Accademia and approaching the statue is a thrill.
    Creative Fog

  4. Thank you! And well put on seeing David at the Accademia - it is a thrill.

  5. Great post about Art. Personally, I have never been to any of the places listed in the posting but I have always wanted to go. Hopefully someday I will be able to.

    1. Thanks, Kristena. I've been very lucky to have travelled to Europe. And I envy anyone who lives there. There's so much to see. I hope you get there one day too!

  6. Wow. These photos are gorgeous. I'm feeling the need to run away to Europe right now. Also, one of my character's in my novel is an artist. He'd love this post, too. And with you also being a writer, I know you won't think I've gone completely round the twist (yet) by discussing a character's thoughts here.

    1. Thanks - I'm dreaming of Europe too! And I'm happy if you've found some inspiration for your character.

  7. Love the photos and this post takes me back to Paris, one of my favourite cities in the world. I'm interested...did you feel underwhelmed when seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time or did it provoke the opposite reaction in you?

    1. Thank you Kellie. The first time I saw her was in the early 80's. Although it was more than 30 years ago, I still distinctly remember our first meeting. I was able to get close and there were no crowds so it was a much more satisfying and personal experience than my recent visit.

  8. Nice trip down memory lane. I enjoyed the Uffizi gallery and also only saw the copy of David.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com
    AtoZ #42

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed it - thanks for stopping by!


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