Venice Beach

Venice Beach isn’t too far from Santa Monica so I walked there. Venice Beach is a very popular tourist destination and this was a Saturday afternoon so it was packed. It’s a very intersting place to say the least with lots of weird people, a huge variety of art and people to tell you your future. You can get marjuana there too if you want. I ran out of energy before I could do much exploring but I did get some photos.

There’s a huge beach and many palm trees.

Lots of art on sides of buldings.

This one is famous and seen in lots of movies.

The creator of Venice Beach loved Venice and made these canals to resemble the real thing. I’ve seen these in lots of movies and tv shows as well.

Jacquemart André Museum

I’ve been to this museum before. The building itself was built by Edouard André, from a Protestant banking family and he devoted his fortune to buying works of art. His mansion was completed in 1875. He wife, Nélie Jacquemart, an artist herself, bequeathed it and its collections to the Institut de France as a museum and it opened to the public in 1913. It’s full of paintings by Italian artists such as Bellini. The reason I made my return visit to this museum was to see a Rembrandt exhibition. As most know, he was a Dutch painter and is considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art. He lived and created in what is called the Dutch Golden Age. He did many self portraits, life like and without personal vanity, some of which were on exhibit here in the museum. There were also Biblical scenes and examples of his etching. He was considered a master of etching in his lifetime, the greatest in fact. Few of his paintings ever left the Dutch Republic while he lived but his prints were circulated all over Europe and his popularity was based on them alone for years. I’m a fan of his paintings myself and have seen The Night Watch and it was just breathtaking. His paintings glow somehow, and there is such powerful work with light and shadow. I read that he never used blue or green in his paintings and, when I think about it, all I remember are browns, blacks and ochre. In his personal life, although he made quite a bit of money, he didn’t handle it well and was always in debt. When he died he was buried in an unmarked grave reserved for the poor if you can imagine that. I went early on a weekend morning hoping to avoid crowds but had to fight my way past people and groups having tours with a guide. I don’t enjoy looking at exhibits this way but enjoyed seeing Rembrandt’s works nontheless. If I had had a dust cloth with me and no guards watching, I would have given some of the frames a good dusting. I couldn’t believe they weren’t cleaned before the showing. I didn’t get any photos of the exhibit. I was good and didn’t even try to sneak one in.

img_2273 This is one of the favorites of many people, mine too. It’s part of the permanent collection.

img_2276 A look at one of the walls leading into another room, rather palatial. The architect, Henri Parent, came in second to Garnier in a contest to build the Paris Opera House, so went all out in this mansion to show what he could do.

img_2279 This was the smoking room where men retired after dinner for cigars and pipes.

img_2283 The room on the second floor looked down into the entry area below. Musicians also played up here during parties.

img_2286This is called the Winter Garden and is considered the most lovely area in the mansion. It was designed in the period of Napoleon III in which there was a characteristic art of entertaining. It was an area women came to cool down and relax a bit when the other rooms got too crowded and hot. This creative design idea was copied from England which consisted of arranging pots of plants, many exotic, under a glass roof. It leads to a really lovely staircase.

img_2289 A look through a window at a bit of the exterior architecture. The mansion is found on Haussman avenue in Haussmann’s redesigned Paris, an area once full of mansions and elegant living. The museum also has a very nice restaurant but I have never eaten there as there is always a line waiting to get in.

The Tudors

At the Luxembourg Museum you can find an exhibition of the Tudors until July 19th, rulers of England throughout the 16th century. From Henry VII to Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I you have the makings of many dramas, the desolution of the Catholic church in England (and marriages), beheadings and plots for plays by Shakespeare and coming soon to American television, Wolf Hall which is about Henry VIII and his six wives. I remember a movie a while back called Anne of a Thousand Days about a queen caught up in those unsettled times. There wasn’t a line the one day I was in the area so I popped in for a look.

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A little blurry as flash wasn’t allowed, but the back of a king’s robe.

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Some armour worn by Henry VIII. I remember seeing the armour lined up in order of age in, I think, Hampton Court, and you can see that Henry gained considerable weight as time passed. This looks so uncomfortable.

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A painting of Henry VII.

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Elizabeth I. I thought the films by Kate Blanchette were so good about this queen, rather sad too.

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The back of a royal robe.

The Romantic Life

I met a friend, Lisa, the other day at the Musée de la Vie Romantique It’s one of those small museums housed in a former home, this one in the home of the Dutch born artist, Ary Scheffer, who arrived in Paris in 1811 and became a fashionable portrait painter. He opened his studio every Friday to guests and many of them were famous such as George Sand, Chopin and Delacroix. The house itself is charming, a step back in time in the Romantic era. There are paintings there done by Scheffer, of course, but most of the museum is devoted to one of his guests, George Sand, the author. She was an interesting woman to say the least-married with two children but had numerous affairs the most famous being with Chopin. They had a rather unpleasant split up and, when he died two years later, she didn’t even go to his funeral. She was also known for wearing men’s clothing and smoked big cigars. I think Colette, another French author, did a lot of the same thing. Wild women! There are 170 artifacts belonging to Sands in the museum.

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The museum at the end of a long entrance.

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The entrance, just as it was in the 1800’s.

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Here is a painting of the entrance by Scheffer. Note the rug on the banister. This was to preserve the modesty of women as they entered. Bet George Sands didn’t care.

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An interesting family tree of George Sand who can trace her family back to the King of Poland. It branches off from here to Kings of France.

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This is a molding of the hand of Chopin done by the son in law of George Sand. Doesn’t it look sensitive and artistic?

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A well known painting of George Sand over a fireplace.

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Don’t sit on the chairs. That’s some sort of thistle to remind you.

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In the studio. I liked the windows and also this stove with the long tube reaching up to a wall. I bet it got rather chilly in there in the winter.

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There’s a lovely garden there and a tea room which is only open in the summer so that would be the best time to visit and would probably be the highlight of your time there. Here’s another reason to visit in the summer:


There is a school next door. Just listen to that noise! I think it would ruin a nice day in the garden, thus summer.