Today we awoke to grey skies and decided that a visit to the Musée d’Orsay would be a wonderful way to eschew the rain. After a quick breakfast of eggs and sliced tomatoes, we jumped on the metro and headed for the 7th arrondissement.
I first became interested in this place when I saw Olivier Assayas’ film Summer Hours in 2009, which was commissioned and produced in part by the museum in honor of some anniversary or another. Among so many other things, the film grapples with the question of worth in regards to priceless objects–for example, an art nouveau writing desk by Marjorelle–when they have been deprived of their intended use (writing) and are instead displayed, without real context or purpose, at a museum. It’s a question that I find fascinating and one that has crossed my mind many times since seeing that film.
The movie is quiet and lovely, with every element that could possibly endear itself to me: a splendid old house in the French countryside, subtilely beautiful original score, gorgeous cinematography, and Juliette Binoche. Above all, I am impressed that the Musée d’Orsay agreed to produce a project that challenges the museum’s own mission and purpose. Props to the Musée d’Orsay, as they say (or I do, at least).
The museum is housed in an old train station and is beautiful in its own right.
As usually happens when I visit an art museum, I thoroughly enjoyed myself for a couple hours, and then walked a little too briskly around the final few collections as inevitable boredom kicked in; however, not before I spotted and fell in love with my new favorite painting. It is serene and eerie and quite perfect in every way:
On our way home from the museum, we decided to take a brief detour to Notre Dame despite the incessant drizzle and increasing chill. As we approached the cathedral, the sun dramatically broke through the clouds and I was able to snap a quick photo of this lit-up beauty.
In that magical moment, I thought I saw the hand of God. But as my eyes panned over to the ridiculous lines waiting to get in, I remembered life has no real meaning and decided to call it a day.