Friday, December 31, 2010
This monotype, Versailles, expresses the royalty, dynamism and history I found at the very popular tourist stop the Palace of Versailles, only 16 miles outside of Paris.
Versailles was the center of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancient Régime.
It represents the ultimate in beautifully appointed but often overdone rooms with antiques and art treasures culminating in the Hall of Mirrors. See earlier posts where I describe the palace and gardens and the juxtaposition of them and the contemporary art exhibit showing there.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
What do you think is the number one tourist attraction in the world? What is the most recognized attraction to people in the world? My guess would be the Eiffel Tower. It is the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named for its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair.
The tower stands 1,063 ft tall, about the same height as an 81 storey building. Upon its completion, it surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930.
Image: Le Tour, Monotype by Linda Dubin Garfield
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Bois de Boulogne, one of Europe's most spectacular parks, just west of the city is a place where Parisians go to breathe and enjoy spacious green surroundings. A historic spot which French nobility once used as hunting grounds, the Bois de Boulogne is a lyrical expanse of greenery and calm where picnics, bike rides, boating, and even fishing can make you feel like you're far away from the urban scene.
One word of warning: prostitution rings thrive around the Bois de Boulogne after dark. Avoid the area at these times.
Image: Bois de Boulogne, Monotype with mixed media by Linda Dubin Garfield
Monday, December 13, 2010
These three monotypes are titled (from the top) "Le Marais," "Sully" and "Vosges." I purposely grouped them together because they are geographically together in Paris. Le Marais is the area where you find Place de Vosges which I spoke about before. It is the oldest planned square, quite lovely with great architecture around it. Build by Charles !! for his son, it stand the test of time and still works as a beautiful, popular square today. The Victor Hugo Museum is there as is the Sully Hotel (meaning large, grand edifice, not a place to rent rooms). You can refer back to past posts to read more about these places. I was enamored by each place and tried to encorporate the energy and feeling of the place in the work of art.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Moulin Rouge, which means Red Mill, is a cabaret built in 1889 by Joseph Oller, who also owned the Paris Olympia. Close to Montmartre in the Paris red-light district of Pigalle on Boulevard de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement, it is marked by the red windmill on its roof.
The Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the can-can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. The modern can-can was born as dancers (many of them failed ballet dancers with exceptional skill) were introduced to entertain the guests. The can-can that we recognise today comes directly from this period and, as the vulgarity of the dance lessened, it became renowned for its athletic and acrobatic tricks.
The Moulin Rouge lost much of its former reputation as a 'high-class brothel' and it soon became fashionable for French society to visit and see the spectacular cabarets, which have included a can-can ever since. The dance is recognizable for the long skirts with heavily frilled undergarments that the dancers wear, high kicks, hops in a circle whilst holding the other leg in the air, splits, cartwheels and other acrobatic tricks, normally accompanied by squeals and shrieks. Whilst the dance became less crude, the choreography has always tended to be a little risqué and somewhat provocative.
Today the Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. Much of the romance of turn-of-the-century France is still present in the club's decor.
Images: Top: Moulin Rouge 1, monotype;and Bottom: Moulin Rouge 2, monotype capture the joy, excitement and provocativeness of the Moulin Rouge as well as the choreography and maybe even a hint of the windmill.