13 August 2013

Musée du Louvre

This past Saturday (August 10) was the 220th anniversary of the opening of Musée du Louvre. To celebrate, Lapham's Quarterly republished a letter by Harriet Beecher Stowe describing her first visit there. While the entire letter is worth reading, I particularly enjoyed this description:
The ascent to the picture gallery tends to produce a flutter of excitement and expectation. Magnificent staircases, dim perspectives of frescoes and carvings, the glorious hall of Apollo, rooms with mosaic pavements, antique vases, countless spoils of art, dazzle the eye of the neophyte and prepare the mind for some grand enchantment. I first walked through the whole, offering my mind up aimlessly to see if there were any picture there great and glorious enough to seize and control my whole being, and answer at once the cravings of the poetic and artistic element.
As you would expect from a great writer, she makes the place come to life, even if this simple letter home.

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