One of the wonderful things about living in Paris is having access to so much art and culture at your fingertips. Whenever I’m having a tough day, I love being able to duck into a museum and forget outside troubles for a few hours. It’s been a stressful week (we just released a big feature at work and I’m launching a new personal project very soon). I’m sure glad it’s Friday!
The other day, I had an urge to see the Mona Lisa and some Rembrandt paintings. Four hours later, I passed through security at the Louvre and made my way to the Italian section. I walked through the corridors and felt so lucky to be in a place some people only get to visit once in a lifetime.
On Wednesdays, the museum is open until 10pm so it’s quite peaceful and tourist-free towards the end of the night. This is the best time to go because you can also catch the sunset over the pyramids. I met up with a new friend, Asheley, who studied Art History at the École de Louvre and worked for one of the museum’s curators (talk about dream job for an art history major!) She was so nice and gave us a guided tour of some of the expositions. I learned that the job of a curator is usually one for life, where one works to create expos, collaborate with other institutions, and oversee restorations.
As I gazed up at the “Slaughtered Ox” (which of course sounds more sophisitcated in French as “Le bœuf écorché”), Asheley told me that the Louvre and the Rijks museum in Amsterdam recently co-purchased two portraits for $160 million. They share joint-custody of the paintings and switch off every 6 months.
We also ventured to the Islamic Art section, which was on the lower floor and filled with ceramics, carpets, and beautiful tiles. Did you know that only 3% of the Louvre’s total collection is on public display? The rest are in the vaults underneath the museum or at other locations in France. One can easily get lost in the Louvre; I can’t imagine there being even twice as many artifacts as there are now.