Day IV

The four day non-stop seminar sans towels continued on Sunday. More cornflakes. More bread. Not enough oj for my liking, but I made do with water.

This time to Marmottan! When we got there we were given about 45 minutes to walk around and explore. Then we met all as one group to look at a painting (even though the professors were specifically told that this was not allowed).

Hoping not to  be caught, we sat in front of one of Monet’s Nymphéas (paintings of water lillies) and acted like detectives as we examined for 2 and a half hours. My professor has a sense of humor: “Eh, once you’ve seen one Nymphéa you’ve seen ’em all.”

I pointed out some things, other people pointed out some things. At the end of the day the painting is still blue and Monet still died in 1926. Then we left and were given 4 hours of free time. I decided to explore the cathedral across the street from Le Louvre by myself. I then went into the museum and explored, meeting some of the other students (and one of my professors staring deeply into the Rembrandt self-portrait from before). I ended up going the completely wrong direction on the way back, despite having a map in hand and remembering which way the sun sets. Nevertheless I returned on time, to get to the Metro, to the Gare de Lyon, where I fell asleep, then woke up and got on the bus, which took us to the bus station, from which I walked for a half hour home.

I had not yet seen the Rotonde lit up with so many Christmas lights, so I needed to stop and look around. But in the end they’re just primary colors: red, blue, white (American flag colors?!). Christmas lights don’t have that dazzling application of color contrasts that create distance, or that duality of light and dark that makes us feel like we’re in two places at once. Neither do they fulfill the goal of what Delacroix said: “That which does not pass, within that which passes, it exists.” Nor do they achieve the goal of Van Gogh: “I am working a great deal these days; by doing this I seek to find an expression for the desperately swift passing away of things in modern life.” In fact, they appear to me like the quintessence  of modern things that pass away…

My weekend hopefully unfulfilled, I walked home and ate some food. On to another week! Portrait painting awaited me…


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