Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day Trip to Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a swell town to visit and a city I could see myself living in some day if I ever learned a few more words in French and depending on how the upcoming US Presidential election turns out.

It is very cosmopolitan and by that I mean that everywhere there are people who are strolling around dressed very well, very shabbily, and, though it is January, people who are barely dressed at all. And, since it is Bordeaux, there is lots of fine wine and gourmet cuisine everywhere. Such as this:

HFC: Halal Fried Chicken

And literally around the corner, 47 steps away (I counted), this:
CFC: Chilly Fried Chicken (though it is also halal)

I like to go into old churches and look at poorly lit old stuff. Unlike the twisting streets of your typical European city, you can never get lost in a church. They are all laid out basically the same. Like a cross...and don't you forget it, heathen!

The Cathedral of St. Andre is dim, cold, and large (the town recently vetoed the idea of renaming it The Cathedral of St. Andre the Giant). There may be some wonderful things in there to see, but I kept bumping into tourists stumbling around taking selfies in the dim light so I gave up and headed to the exit.

On my way there I noticed a small, well lit annex that turned out to be a gallery of two rooms with about 30 first-rate painting, sculpture and reliquaries. The work that struck me was the early renaissance stuff that curiously appeared to be mostly Italian.

Here is one of two paintings on exhibit of the Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine. This was an event that I never heard of, but I suspect that the mystical part had to do with Catherine getting married to a baby who liked to play with his toes... at least I think that's what he is playing with.

Baby Jesus ate his fruits and vegetables and so should you.

And then, there was this. Is this is one of the greatest Madonna and Child paintings ever? I don’t think I have ever seen Mary tweak the Baby’s earlobe like that with her Lincoln Log fingers, but it is charming. And the Baby Jesus’s poke actual seems to push Mary’s bemused mouth a little to the side. It’s a hell of a painting.

Next stop, the Musée des Beaux Arts. The last time I was here a few years ago, these galleries were closed for renovation. The bathrooms definitely got an upgrade, but the rooms themselves in the pre-19th century wing do not appear to have been upgraded or even swept since the reign of Charles de Gaulle.

Several reviews on TripAdvisor commented that this was a good place to take the kiddies...seriously?! All I can say is that whoever curated this impressive collection had a taste for flesh...seriously!!

“Slave Trader” by Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli (nice last name, dude!)

“David Holding the Head of Goliath” by Aubin Vouet

“The Miracle of Saint Justus” By “Pierre” Paul Rubins

“Painting Crowned by Fame” by Sebastiano Mazzoni

“Saint Sebastian Aided by Irene” Attributed to the Maitre a la Chandelle

“Giotto in Chimabue’s Studio” by Jules Ziegler
Huh? This is a subject that I know a bit about. Chimabue was Giotto's teacher whom Giotto left in the dust. So, in this version of reality, Giotto was half naked in Chimabue’s studio when he got the idea that he could completely revolutionize Western painting forever by making flesh more supple and rounded and fleshy?!?!

Why does that painting remind me of this comic? On second thought, don’t answer that question.


Romane Yoann said...

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