Category Archives: Sculpture

A photoshoot at Pere Lachaise

Towards the end of K and A’s (initials of my son and his wife, for easier writing) stay in Paris, I made sure that they visit a must-see site that has now become a tourist attraction,  the most famous cemetery in the world, the Pere Lachaise.

Entrance is free, you just  have to ask for a map at the Reception where tombs of important persons are highlighted.  It opened in 1804 and now forms part of the Historic Monuments of France.

K and A were adamant at first, why visit a cemetery? but when they started seeing tourists and tour groups roaming around, they became more comfortable.  It was then that I gave them an assignment:  “Here’s your chance to practice on photography!  Shoot something MYSTERIOUS! ”

And so, here are the pics that I have chosen out of hundreds shots that we all took together:

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Re-uniting with The Thinker

 It’s been more than a month since my last post!  I’ve been playing host, mother, cook, tourist guide,  photographer  to my son and his wife who came to Paris for the final month of their 3-month European honeymoon.  Aside from the day to day family bonding which kept me busy and lacking concentration to blog, we visited tourist attractions,  wandered off beaten paths,  attended events, went museum-hopping and queueing up at heritage sites, mostly done at zero-euro cost!  So in the coming weeks, I shall be posting photos and tips that will definitely interest those who want to conquer Paris on a budget.  Watch for them!

For a starter, let me take you  to that spot which my son specifically requested to cap up their Parisian holiday –

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 The Thinker at Musée Rodin gardens

I must admit I have been exploring Paris on foot for ages, focusing on the hidden gems that I laboriously google on the internet but it never even crossed my mind to highlight what is already obvious! The Thinker has been staring at me on the face but I kept on ignoring him.

Even when I saw the pensive statue featured on “Midnight in Paris” where Carla Bruni-Sarkozy acted as museum guide, I still turned a blind eye although I couldn’t help but admire the charm of the ex-French First Lady on the movie.

Eventually, the only thing that made me go and see Auguste Rodin’s bronze masterpiece was through the urgings of my son.  And I’m glad I went.

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The Thinker is not really unknown to me.  I first stumbled upon his image in the early 80’s, on a magazine occupying the entire page where it was used as an advertising stunt, I think, for a photocopying machine.  I instantly fell in love with  the artwork, the muscular build reminded me of a Greek god in deep thought.  I probably got so smitten by it that I tore the page, took it for framing and stayed adorning our sitting room wall for several years up to the day my son was born and even beyond that.  Because of work, we both went to live abroad then  returned home after few years.  By then, the framed photo disappeared from the wall.  It was only early this week when we went to see the statue that my son told me that he remembers seeing a photo of it in our sitting room back home when he was growing up!

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Seeing the original sculpture in all its glory was like getting reunited to a long, lost friend.  But it’s even more than that, for IT IS an amazing piece of art!  If Michelangelo’s Dying Slave and Dante have  touched my sensibilities to the core, The Thinker had made me swoon over a statue, just like when I swooned over his photo in the early 80’s!  I just love him!

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The Thinker is set in the beautiful rose garden of an 18th-century mansion where the artist lived and worked. The gardens, the perfectly aligned cone-shaped trees that surround The Thinker render the sculpture its divine appearance and whichever angle you look at him, he looks so perfect amongst the roses.  The roses themselves are delightfully irresistable to photograph!

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Even this miniature copy we saw at the museum boutique was excruciatingly tempting to buy.  Definitely, after that trip, I became a Rodin-phile. Now, I just had to enlarge that photo I took , frame it and display it at home!

Musée Rodin
77, rue de Varenne, Paris 7th
Metro: Varenne

Strolling the Tuileries Garden

 I was scouting for canicule (heatwave) -related photo opportunities  the other day and had in mind checking on fountain parks hoping to capture scenes of water frolickers and my first stop was, of course, the most visited garden in Paris – the Jardin des Tuileries .

I say, “most visited” because everyone going to the Louvre or the Place de la Concorde would most likely stumble upon this beautiful park and as soon as a sculpture or a part of the floral garden comes into view, he will no doubt get carried away to explore further.

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This is one of the two large basins of the Tuileries.  The building on the right is the Louvre.  Noticeably absent are the remote-controlled boats which can be rented.  It’s not surprising as most Parisians are still on their summer holidays.  Same with the ferris wheel operator, as it was being disassembled when I was walking past it.

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The garden can be accessed from the Place de la Concorde, seen here by the towering Egyptian obelisk.  In the background are the  Champs Elysées, Arc du Triomphe and some skylines because the Tuileries is part of a grand central axis leading from the Louvre all the way to La Défense, the city’s business district.

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And this is the Louvre and one of the three glass pyramids

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Here, everyone can grab a chair and sit back by the grand octagonal pond and enjoy the fountains, the gardens views and sculptures.  Classical, modern and even weird sculptures.   I love the former.  It’s like walking through an open-air classical museum.

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Le Centaur Nessus enlevant D?janire (The centaur Nessus carrying off Dejanire)
by Laurent Honoré Marqueste
Marble, 1892, installed in the Tuileries in 1894.

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 Thesée combattant le minotaure (Theseus fighting the Minotaur)

Ramey Etienne Jules,  1796 – 1852
marble 1821 – 1827
Installed in the Tuileries in 1832

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 Le Tibre (The Tiber river)
marble 1688 – 1690
by Bourdict, Pierre, 1684 – 1711
Installed in the Tuileries in 1719

The Tiber is a Roman sculpture representing the river, and the original work is in the Louvre.

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If you are lucky, you can see a lost goat eating on the grass, although I honestly think they intentionally put old Billy there to keep the grass short.  It  saves on lawnmower diesel and manhours, at the same time it keeps Billy happy.

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The Jardin des Tuileries is Paris’ largest and oldest garden and a showcase of classical gardening.

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One must visit the garden every change of season. The floral displays are simply staggering!

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God’s own origami creation – the Dahlia

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Cassandre se met sous la protection de Pallas (Cassandra seeking the protection of Pallas)
marble 1877
by Millet, Aimé (1819 – 1891)
Installed in the Tuileris in 1897

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Naked Cassandra, with only a cloth over her thigh, stands next to a square pedestal that has a small statue above it-   presumably representing Pallas.
Legend goes that she gained the gift of foresight, but after she spurned Apollo’s love, he placed a curse on her that would cause no one to believe her predictions.
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Le bon Samaritain (The Good Samaritan)
marble, 1986
Sicard, François 1862 – 1934
Installed in the Tuileries in 1905

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There is something for all ages in the Tuileries…

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I went scouting for fountain frolickers in the Tuileries but this was all I’ve got… oh well, I’m off to the next park!