Saturday, June 18, 2011

Musée d'Orsay and Arc de Triomphe

A few showers aside, the weather is cool and pleasant. Today we all went to the Musée d'Orsay--an annual highlight of the course. Impressionist art and the culture of the late nineteenth century are featured in the first unit of the course; we are in particular interested in how art criticism shaped the artistic currents. We asked the students to view and study several art works that we had previously studied in our readings. Sadly, two of them, Manet's "Olympia" and the "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" have been removed from the collection and placed in a special exhibit on Manet's relationship to the modern. We didn't get the tickets to the special exhibition, so we didn't get to see these paintings!

We ask our graduate students to prepare and deliver a short presentation to the undergrads on a couple of extra books (books that the undergrads don't read). Today we had the first of these presentations--on Emile Zola's novel The Masterpiece. This novel's hero is based on the impressionist painter, Cézanne. Maureen McCann and Shannon Harkins did a great job in presenting the novel to the undergrads!

We also went to the Champs-Elysées and climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which presented many photo ops (and I'm including a sample in today's blog).

Finally, we had a great Italian dinner at a little restaurant around the corner from our hotel.

Tomorrow--Napoleon's tomb, the Museum of the Army and the Rodin Museum!

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