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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

"La Jeune Martyre"


Walking once through the Louvre, thinking, "I like this, I don't like that..." and how small the Mona Lisa was, I entered a room and saw a painting that literally took my breath away. It was "La Jeune Martyre" by Paul Delaroche. It seemed so huge and so amazing that no reprint or poster (and I have 2 extremely large ones) comes anywhere near to that original moment of seeing it.

I do not know which martyr is represented, or whether it is merely a painting of any martyr. I think it was the contrast in colour and just the sheer beauty of it that really captured me and, in a way, I don't want to know the story behind it as I think it would somehow distract from that initial impact. In Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "Le Petit Prince", the Little Prince gazes longingly at the star from which he came, and considers how bizarre it is that astronomers can name all the stars but do not know them (as he does). Sometimes I think we can learn things so much with our heads, and so little with our hearts that we miss their real value. Not being an artist, and not understanding what makes a piece of work classic, all I know is that I loved that painting and it is enough.

And when you consider that great art critics pays fortunes for pickled fish, people pay to see unmade beds, piles of bricks or lights going on an off, I am not sure that I would ever want to 'learn' more about what is considered a masterpiece.

2 comments:

Mikaela D'Eigh said...

Christina ~
So glad you like the new look!

I love this painting. It reminds me of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood depictions of Ophelia. How wonderful that you were able to see the original! Were you also able to see Delarouche's hemicycle in the École des Beaux Arts?

Christina said...

Yes, I thought of Ophelia, too. Unfortunately I didn't manage to go to the Beaux Arts...another time perhaps :-)...and love the Hemicycle, too.
The pre-Raphaelites are my favourites.
And yes, I do like your new blog layout! New Year, New start :-)