Fezzik In Paris

Two Americans, three cats, and too many places named "de Gaulle"

After taking a two-weekend break to allow for the Purrito’s pre-Houston packing and post-Houston decompression, we re-entered the world of Saturday activities with a trip to the grand palais, where the fall exhibits are finally up and running.

The first exhibit was entitled Picassomania, and was supposed to be about Picasso’s influence on his contemporaries and successors, replete with examples of art that would show his far-ranging influence. The actual exhibit, however, was an incredibly boring slog through a seemingly-endless number of rooms that were filled with remixes and homages, none of which surpassed or even approached the (absent: a poster-sized reproduction of the piece being referenced would have been useful) original work (this coming from someone who doesn’t even like most of the guy’s oeuvre; it’s the residual disappointment, perhaps, that my teenaged self experienced upon discovering that the closest thing to a breast in the alluringly-titled Nude Figure was an ugly brown polygon. As I recall, the textbook in question had photos of Greek and Roman marbles, and (woo) Botticelli’s Birth of Venus so not all was lost).

Our penance complete (I’m now wondering if there’s such thing as pre-penance. I know about indulgences (thanks, butter tower of the cathédrale notre-dame de Rouen), but that involves money; if you scourge yourself beforehand and then smack the priest, is that still an indulgence? There has to be some theological construct (and a term for said construct) which allows this sort of behavior…), we headed, without buying so much as a magnet or an affiche de l’exposition (a grave insult), to the much more interesting exhibition on Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. At one point the official portraitist of Marie-Antoinette, Vigée saw trouble brewing and high-tailed it out of France before the revolution devolved into a bloodbath. While she’d eventually return during the reign of Napoléon, she spent the intervening years hopping amongst the various European courts, painting lovely portraits of questionably-attractive people (portraits: the original airbrushing). The exhibit was apparently the first major exhibition devoted entirely to her work (which probably has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the operative pronoun is “her”. Cough, cough.)

A poster and a magnet were purchased.

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