Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Louvre and Versailles - Ceiling Art

How often do you expect to find art on the ceiling? In the medieval churches and also in museums and art galleries, be aware that art is everywhere. This is especially evident in Paris.


In the Louvre galleries. . .



Louvre Museum, Ceiling Art, Paris, by DG Hudson

Gilded molding and a variety of painted scenes in ceilings are used to create certain effects. Art distracts the eye and reduces a high ceiling; the visual warmth of the gilding and recessed lighting complements the marble of the walls as well as the sculptures. The example shown above is from a main gallery at the Louvre Museum.


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In the corners of embellished walls and ceilings. . .
 


Louvre Museum, Corner Art, Paris, by DG Hudson

In an upper corner of the Louvre ceiling, an elaborate wall sculpture with royal insignia, and deep windows surrounded by painting above and in between. This viewpoint is on a lower level. Art sculptures compete for floor space, hanging frames provide a window on other times, and above our heads, art fit for a king.

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At the Palace of Versailles. . .

At Versailles, the palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV, painting and gilt embellishment decorate a curved painted ceiling with a filigree design. A scaffold would be needed to get a closer look.



Versailles Ceiling Art by DG Hudson

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Which way is Up?

The angle of this next photo may be disorienting, as it looks upward. Versailles surprises the visitor with its beautiful craftmanship, its opulence, and its grand scale. Much of the ceiling art is restored one square inch at a time when repair is needed. Maintenance of the estate is funded by tours and occasional art displays.




Versailles - Private chambers ceiling and wall, by DG Hudson


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And in this Corner. . .

Art covers many architectural devices in this ceiling at Versailles, such as curves, medallions, and edging patterns. The total effect is a feast for the eyes, but it drained much of the French treasury to decorate this estate. Wise minds prevailed when Versailles was restored to its original glory. Such places bring history alive and remind those who govern that the treasury is for the country and its people, as well as the king or rulers.





Versailles Ceiling Detail, by DG Hudson


Each small section is a finished work of art which can be seen in the closeup below.



Versailles, Closeup Ceiling detail by DG Hudson
 
 
Restoring Versailles and the Louvre to their former grandness is an effort that is celebrated by those who love art and history. Keeping history intact and preserving art and architecture is something the modern world still needs to remember. Don't destroy heritage for modern sleekness. There's no joy of discovery of the fine detail when all you've got is a smooth surface that reflects. The cost of creating equivalent buildings or art works today would be prohibitive.
 
Some of the photos had to be lightened to see the detail. These upper areas of castles can appear dim when you are on location. Lights near art works are usually minimal for preservation purposes.
 
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Have you seen ceiling art in museums, galleries or churches? What do you think of art on the ceiling? Do you mind looking up to see? Would you want to see it up close? Even on a scaffold?
 
Please share in the comments and thanks for dropping by! This arty moment brought to you by DG.  Good luck to all NANO-ers if you happen to stop by.
 
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References:
 
 
 
 
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23 comments:

  1. The ceiling art is incredible in those palaces and museums! Have you ever seen the Hearst Castle in CA? WR Hearst had a lot of artwork brought over from Asia & Europe for it. It is, however, a little 'busy' for my taste. Spanish ceilings with French furniture, Egyptian artifacts and Chinese vases mish moshed in one room is a bit much!

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    1. Glad yu liked the photos. I've got photos from the Hearst Castle JoJo, but they're from my non-digital SLR. It was a 'grand estate' and always reminds me of Citizen Kane.

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  2. WOW. Those are so gorgeous. I hope very much to see both places some day. Incredible.

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    1. Definitely worth seeing, I never imagined a ceiling could be this ornate.

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  3. I took pictures of all the painted ceilings in Versailles. They were just so beautiful!

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    1. I agree, Misha. I wonder how many of the faces in those paintings were of some of the guests at the palace?

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  4. D.G. This is so gorgeous~ I would love to go and see it~
    What an unique art form! Thank you for sharing~
    I want to travel~

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    1. Ella, I think you'd love the Louvre. It would give you lots of ideas for your lovely crafts. I wanted to sit and just absorb art by osmosis, but instead stayed on my feet and clicked away with the camera.

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  5. Versailles - I haven't been there since 1988, but I loved it, and I thought the ceiling art was magnificent. Ceiling art is wonderful because it helps us look up and start looking everywhere for beauty.

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    1. I might not have included a tour of Versailles, but a friend who had been there a year or so before told me I HAD to see Versailles. On that recommendation, we took her advice. Versailles brought history to life.

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  6. Everything is a masterpiece in Paris. I enjoyed seeing your pictures. It brought back a lot of memories.

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    1. Happy to trigger your memories, Sherry.

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  7. I would happily go up on a scaffold to see the art up close, but I'd also be happy to see it from the ground. The artwork in those photos is stunning. I imagine your eye would catch something different each time you went.

    On preserving history, a big new chain came in and tried to put a giant building that would level several historic buildings in a little town called Old Colorado City. The buildings date back to the big gold rush in Colorado. The community rose up against them and fought them every step of the way, ultimately finding victory. The big chain has moved on to find another location.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. It's a battle here every time too, but if the people who live in an area want to keep heritage buildings, they have to speak out, otherwise city counciles will go for the business proposal every time. You need a heritage protection group. Thanks for sharing that, Shannon and Go! Old Colorado City.
      I'd get up on a scaffold too, for art.

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  8. Well, they just don't make 'em like that anymore certainly applies here. That artwork and ornamentation from past times is so incredible. I've seen it mostly in large churches or cathedrals. It's sad that in our age we no longer care for individual works of craftsmanship. Now it's all mass produced. Ceiling art in our day would probably come in printed sheets that would be glued on and not expected to last for all that many years.

    Disposable. That's what we produce now for the most part.

    Lee
    Special report today on the "Story Sprouts" book launch in L.A.
    Lot's of pictures in this one!

    Tossing It Out

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    1. If we don't save some of this visual history, much of it will fade away. History never comes alive in books as much as seeing it yourself. Why else would all historical monuments get so many visitors?
      I'll definitely drop by your blog, Lee, since I have seen that Story Sprouts book launch on another blog, too. Photos are always a draw for me.

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  9. I remember visiting Versailles and learning the artist who painted Louis's portrait was instructed by the king to use a female model for his legs.

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  10. Breathtaking, so beautiful. The longer you look, the more you see! I love visiting old grand buildings with such amazing art

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    1. Yes, wish we had painted ceilings in our city. Thanks for visiting Hayley.

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  11. Oh my goodness, I haven't seen these before, but they are amazing. My wanderlust is getting worse. Okay book, time to start making me millions. (Ha, ha.)

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  12. Could you please let me know the name of the gallery from the first photograph in this article? Thank you.

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    1. I don't remember the name of the gallery but it's in the gallery area where the Antiquities are, as we were looking for the statue Aphrodite (the Venus de Milo)
      Sorry, I was too busy photographing to note the gallery name.

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