Friday, February 18, 2011

Art Project

Have you heard about the Google Art Project? As an art lover, I'm completely psyched about it! It's definitely a shout-with-glee, jump-up-and-down, clap-your-hands moment. This incredible online experience allows you view works of art housed in museums from around the world. It's just like Google maps in the sense that you get a view of a room in the museum as though you're standing there and then you can walk up to a piece of art and take a close look. (Check out the quick behind the scenes video to see how it's done - by the way, that is one cool job). The best part is Google has virtually removed those annoying yellow lines and glass encasings that we all despise when visiting museums. Using the zoom feature is like you have your nose to the work of art, inspecting it with a crazy good magnifying glass so you can see every crack, line, and paint stroke.

Field of Flowers Near Arles by Vincent Van Gogh - Van Gogh Musem, Amsterdam

When we were in Paris this past fall, I visited the Louvre. My husband was sick and I almost didn't go, but I was an art major in college and could not be in the same city as the Mona Lisa and not see it. What I was so shocked by was how far away you're kept from the painting. It had a pretty thick glass encasing, a large wood block that jutted out from the wall about 3 feet, then 10-15 feet back from that were ropes that you had to stand behind (not to mention the crowd you have to get past). I get it - the Mona Lisa is probably the world's most famous piece of art. And I worked at an art gallery and had to tell hundreds of school groups not to touch the art "because even if you just washed your hands, we all have natural oils on our fingers that can damage the paintings". But come on, 15 feet back? It's not like we're going to saddle up to the Mona Lisa and lick it, we just want to see it a little closer. Despite that, it was still amazing to stand there and take in such an important piece of art history in person. Hopefully the Google Art Project will cover the Louvre in the future so I can see it's nuances up close and discover the crackles that it's inherited over time. Goosebumps.

While we're on the topic of the Louvre, I did promise to provide you with some travel tips and photos from our European adventure. So here's a little nugget for you: if you plan on visiting the Louvre, avoid the main entrance through the glass pyramid in the courtyard. Instead, enter the museum through the Carousel du Louvre underground mall (you can access it from the staircases near the arc at the far end of the courtyard). Go to Virgin Megastore and buy your tickets at the first checkout line on the right. Then enter the museum across from the store, you can't miss the signs. Entering this way will bring you to the same place as entering through the pyramid, but it's cheaper and will save you from standing in long lines! From there, I can't remember which wing I entered, but I climbed a grand staircase and saw the Winged Victory first (a must-see, it's larger-than-life) and then busted a right and saw the Mona Lisa. Prepare to get lost in this place - it's ginormous, but even when you can't find your way, you'll discover something beautiful to look at. I tried to get my bearings after seeing the Venus de Milo and sat in the Greek sculpture room for a while. It was gorgeous and peaceful and turned out to be one of my favorite places in Paris. Love it.

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