Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Louvre staircases: It's a factor of scale

The Louvre is totally overwhelming; Not just the collections which are astounding but the sheer scale of the building.
The entry under the I.M.Pei pyramid is probably the most stressful place in all of Paris. Not just because of the crowds but the pickpocket warning signs posted EVERYWHERE are rather disconcerting.
Once you enter the museum itself you can find pockets of calm, such as in the Marly Courtyard above.
The most amazing thing in the building to my eye are the numerous staircases.  Even the smallest of these, such as the Lafuel staircase, are on an enormous scale.
Here you can take a deep breath away from the crowds and just enjoy the beautiful building.
Because you step out of the stairways and even on a weekday this is what you encounter; hoards of people RUSHING towards you!
The Daru staircase is also of an immense public scale. It reminds me of a drawing by M.C. Escher.
And of course the tourists with their cameras (who cannot look at an artwork EXCEPT through the eye of their camera lens for whatever reason) are continually falling down the stair or else stepping on you.
The vantage points through these spaces are amazing.
I think much of this architectural detailing is overlooked in favor of the amazing collection of artwork. Save a day for art and a day for architectural looking perhaps?
The LaFuel courtyard is unfortunately not open to the public although visible from the galleries inside. Wouldn't this make a great cafe?
Loved the columns on the porte cochere above.
Speaking of cafes this staircase had a lovely cafe ringing its upper level.
Wouldn't you love to have a meal here? It must be one of the prettiest cafes in all of Paris (and thats saying something).
The ceiling decorations throughout are amazing.
And all of the abundance of natural light keeps the museum from feeling too cold.
What have your impressions of the Louvre been on your visits? Are there certains days to go which are better than others?

25 comments:

m denise c said...

Amazing post, Stefan. I like to go on the night that the Louvre is open late--very peaceful.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Thanks for sharing your impressions, Stefan. I had to laugh at your take on the camera-weilding tourists — so true, the world over. The second staircase photo reminds me of Piranesi.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Thank you, M! I'll have to try that next time. I left after an hour or so because I couldn't take the crowds.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Mark, agreed on Piranesi! I don't' understand the photos of art work because you can generally find better pictures online and actually enjoy it in person! I take photos of buildings and details because I refer back to them for work -they serve a purpose. Those 1,000,000's of people will never look at their photo of the Mona Lisa.

Pura Vida said...

Your post has caused me a new awareness in stairs...how great!

My Notting Hill said...

Your pictures of the building itself are so interesting. I've only been on a Sunday afternoon and we were able to view the Mona Lisa with only about 20 other people in the room. We might have just been lucky.

The Devoted Classicist said...

One of my favorite film moments is in "Funny Face" will Audrey Hepburn descending the staircase in front of Winged Victory saying "Take the picture, take the picture!"

I once went to an evening concert in one of those courtyards. It was a real treat.

Karen Albert said...

You are so right Stefan I am sure many visitors do not notice the architecture because they are scurrying to see the fabulous art! Both are of importance and will never be replicated!

xoxo
Karena
2013 Designers Series

deana sidney said...

I am an absolutely HORRID person. I know it. I hate the fact that museums are now completely overrun. Sometimes I feel like I'm at a sporting event instead of a museum. I can't contemplate or appreciate because I can't sit and view anything at so many museums. These days my great joy is coming upon a quiet treasure.

I am glad I saw the great ones back in the day when you could see what they had and enjoy the art.

PS love that you showed out of the way views of the Louvre. Ick that all those signs are up... what are we coming to?

Lucindaville said...

You know what they say Reading is Fundamental. I looked at his and swore it said "louvered" staircase and I thought, "Where is this louvered staircase?"

Pax Britannica said...

Congratulations again on your taste! The Lefuel staircase is indeed a masterpiece, as intended - it leads from a special entrance up to what was the Imperial Library (of the Louvre) on the 2nd floor, which unhappily was deliberately set alight in 1871. (The main room now houses Rubens' Marie de Médicis series.) Hence the putti reading books in the vaults above the staircase flights. The oval windows are grand. The young Richard Morris Hunt, as one of Lefuel's senior students, worked on the outside facade of the Pavillon de la Bibliothèque - I wonder if he had a hand in the details of the staircase inside?

Terri said...

Fantastic photos. It has been many years since I visited the Louvre - and with 4 young children along. I need to go back to visit with more time to take it in. I've always loved the beautiful museum interiors almost as much as the art. I think my children did too, as I remember them "claiming" various rooms for their own bedrooms, if we were to ever live there (yes - IN the Louvre). Thanks for reminding me that I'm due for a visit.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Terri, I always do the same thing as your kids! haha

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Pax, thanks for your insightful comment as always! I didn't know ANY of this!!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Lucinda, hmmm.......now I wonder what a LOUVERED staircase would be! Maybe like down in S.A. where buildings are open to outside air with louvered shutters as enclosure?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Deana, I've always said it and it only gets worse every year - I'm not a people person!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Classicist - as soon as I saw Winged Victory atop that staircase I immediately screamed "take the picture, take the picture!" (inside my head)

Windlost said...

Beautiful spaces, and thanks to the architect in you for reminding me to look at the building and not just the art. I do notice stairways, and you are right, the scale is perfect here. You know, when I was 23 and lived in Paris doing my master's degree, I sometimes went to the Louvre in the middle of winter on a weekday, say around 2pm when a class finished, and it was a treat to have the whole thing to myself (ish). I remember seeing the Mona Lisa with maybe only 6 other people - it used to be in a much smaller space, like a long galley. And I have photos of the Winged Victory with hardly any people in them.

Ah...those were the days. Now all of Paris seems like a zoo all the time. Imagine Rome (we are contemplating a trip). Ugh...I hate the hordes.

xo Terri

Anonymous said...

That first photo is amazing!


Maxine

The Down East Dilettante said...

Amazing photos---and all so true. But I'd like to focus for a second (no pun intended) on the people who only look at the art through their camera lens. I watched that phenomenon myself just the other day in a museum. What in blazes is that about???

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

Beautiful post Stefan. I need to go there 10 more times to take it all in. It is a bit overwhelming. The staircases are magnificent.
xo Nancy

Anonymous said...

I love to be in the collection of French decorative arts and period rooms at noon when the clocks begin ringing. If memory serves, they do not go off all at the same moment but are staggered so that they present their little airs separately.

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Pura Vida said...

what an incredible bit of history!

Thombeau said...

I do not care to mingle with the masses but I suppose if I were there I'd just bite the proverbial bullet and do it. In spite of the crowds, your post made it all the more alluring!