|Monument to Alphand: Totally less boring in person.|
|Opéra Garnier. Gilt. House.|
I am even less great at Medieval art than I am at Contemporary Art, and I occasionally have an equally bad (or worse) attitude about it. I never get tired of looking at church architecture though, and because I'm not knowledgeable about Parisian medieval architecture, I am consistently stumbling into great churches that are surprises to me. St. Augustin might be my favorite surprise church (that I should have known about, but didn't). Both exterior and interior were really beautiful, and it had an absolutely gorgeous dome suspended over a row of stained glass windows. And it had an equestrian of Joan of Arc out front.
|St. Augustin and Ste. Jean.|
|My big sister could take on both Joans. At the same time.|
Sometimes it is hard reconciling what you know as a historian with what you feel as a human being. Point in fact: I know that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States, and that various casts of her exist in various locations throughout the city of Paris. But damn is it weird every time. The Statue of Liberty was actually a product of the late nineteenth century, and she is an incredibly interesting counterpoint to Dalou's figure of the Republic atop his Triumph. My advisor, during one of my PhD qualifying exams no less, asked for comparative material for the Dalou Republic figure, and it sure was awhile before it occurred to me: OH! You mean the colossal statue on an island off the coast of my own damn country. Right. Unfortunately it is hard to remember that in art history, the State of Liberty does not equal a quality tourist attraction and symbol of American democracy but rather an example of a classicizing liberty figure borrowing from the same iconographic tradition as Dalou's figure of the Republic. And sometimes you run across her when you are walking around Paris.