La vue de Paris
Joe and I spent part this past Thursday in Paris, where we had a seven-hour layover on our way home from Ukraine. Why we were in Ukraine is a separate post entirely, one that I hope to compose in the next few days.
Paris is lovely. The only other time I’ve been was also during a layover with Joe on our way to Rome back in 2002, when we visited the Latin Quarter and Sacré Coeur church. This time we decided to spend the afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay on a recommendation from our friend Kate.
I absolutely loved it. The space—a converted railway station for those who haven’t been—is magnificent, and the collection itself is impressive. We had only about 2½ hours to spare, and needless to say, the Orsay was much more manageable than the Louvre would have been in so short a span of time. Still, we saw only a fraction of the collection, and I’m hoping to make it back again in the not too distant future, perhaps this winter.
The above image shows Hercules the Archer (bronze, 1909, Musée d’Orsay, Paris) by Emile Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), who was a student of Rodin (1840-1917). Looking up at this massive nude from underneath was unexpectedly erotic. I say “unexpectedly” because the sculpted figure portrays a body type to which I am not normally drawn.
For all the figure’s muscular bulk and the raw power of his warrior stance, what struck me most was his incredible vulnerability, perhaps because from beneath I found myself staring directly up into his exposed perineum.
I wondered whether viewers a century ago would have found themselves as aroused.