Visiting Delacroix’s Paris #wwwblogs

delacroix

Eugene Delacroix

The last weekend in January, Gary and I went to Paris – the realisation of a dream I’ve had for more years than I care to remember. I don’t know why it took so long to get there, but I wish I hadn’t waited. What a fabulous city it is.

I was desperate to visit the home of Eugene Delacroix, the artist around whose painting ‘The Death of Sardanapalus’ my WIP revolves. Of course, I wanted to see the painting itself, hanging in the Louvre, and also wanted to visit his grave, at Pere Lachaise cemetery (where Jim Morrison is also buried, so Gary was happy!).

We stayed in the Left Bank, the art district, so it was a short stroll to the Musée National Eugene Delacroix in the Rue de Furstenberg where Delacroix lived from 1857 until his death in 1863.

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It was a very strange feeling walking through the rooms where Delacroix lived and worked and eventually died. The museum is wonderful – thoughtfully and lovingly designed, with artefacts and objects that belonged to the man himself and many artworks too. The garden at the back of the building has been recreated to include many of the plants and trees he loved and would have grown there. It is so peaceful in the little walled garden – the centre of Paris, but calm and tranquil. It was easy to imagine Delacroix walking there. The garden is the setting for one of the scenes in my book and actually being there was so much more inspiring than looking at photographs.

garden-2

We went to the Louvre next, and straight to the Delacroix paintings. There are several of his works there. I have seen some at an exhibition at the National Gallery, but not ‘The Death of Sardanapalus’ itself. It is truly a magnificent painting. We sat there, just looking, for ages, really taking it in.

eugene-delacroix-the-death-of-sardanapalus-1827

We did go on to look at the Mona Lisa, because you do feel you have to. There was quite a queue, which we didn’t join, we just looked at it from across the room. To be honest, it wasn’t very inspiring. There are wonderful things in the Louvre, amazing paintings and sculptures, and so many people were walking past these lovely, irreplaceable works to take a selfie with this tiny painting. I do think Leonardo himself would be pretty annoyed to think that that’s the thing people associate him with. It seems to have become something to tick off on a list – been there, seen that.

mona_lisa_by_leonardo_da_vinci_from_c2rmf_retouched

Hmmmm…

Anyway, we saved the cemetery for our last day in Paris, and the skies were suitably grey. It is a strange place, horribly crowded and a bit confusing. We were armed with a map though and instructions from our daughter who had been there the week before Christmas. We soon found Delacroix’s grave – it is simple, so unlike his paintings, but somehow that seems fitting. After all, how can you really commemorate someone like Delacroix?

delacroix_tomb

I always find it touching that people leave small gifts at the graves of those that have touched their lives and it was nice to see single flowers left there. It’s always gratifying to know that other people revere and love the people you admire.

There are so many others here, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Ingres, Géricault, Balzac, David, Chopin, and of course Jim Morrison, among many, many others. That all these people have Paris as their final resting place is testament to the city itself, vibrant and liberal, intellectual and open, a place where art, music, writing and philosophy have always flourished. In a time when the world seems to be moving to the right, to a political landscape where free thinking, creativity and critical thinking are denigrated and ridiculed, let’s hope it remains that place.

louvre_at_night

 

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24 comments

  1. I enjoyed your comments on Paris. I can also add my name to the list of those underwhelmed by dear Mona L. Had the same experience of standing at the rear while tourists took selfies with the adored one. We can only wonder how her myth was born.
    The slide to the right across Europe – including Britain – is truly dissettling. Le Pen at the helm of the Grand Nation would be a tragedy. Yet over the past decade, the French have not been either wise or fortunate with their electoral choices. I fear this time won’t be any improvement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like it was a wonderful weekend. Glad you found the painting inspiring and look forward to the book. I think it must be quite an emotional experience to visit that cemetery and all those people who have touched our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my favourite cities and each time I visit I seem to find a new corner where something incredible is hidden and it’s always these little gems that have a greater impact than the more famous sites on the tourist maps.

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    1. It did feel as though everywhere we went there was a place that had inspired this book or that book, or was where someone amazing had stayed, or lived or died. So looking forward to returning one day (hopefully soon) and discovering more.

      Like

  4. I love a travelog with a purpose! This was really fun. Hubs and I were in Paris once, but we were ht by a car and have’;t returned since – his injuries were worse than mine. think the only reason we would return is to finally visit the Louvre and the cemetery – on our list before the accident.
    PS Had never seen that panting before.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry, only just seen this, Alison – for some reason I’m not getting ANY email blog notifications. This is a lovely post, and I’m glad to note, re the comments, that you’re still ‘getting there’ with the book, which I look forward to reading, very much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is hard for the Mona Lisa to meet expectations given the hype around it. There is so much less talk about the five other paintings attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci that hang in the room right beside the Mona Lisa, one of which, St. John the Baptist, is sublime.

    Liked by 1 person

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