For our second visit, Diana had no particular requests, but David prefers sculpture to paintings, so we headed for French sculpture in the Richelieu wing, an area we had never seen before. It was a pleasure to take time to study the pieces, notice techniques, really look at expressions and gestures. Most of the sculpture in this section is secular portraiture, with some classical themes.
>> [Baby Oedipus being revived by the shepherd Phorbus, who cut him down from the tree in which he had been left to die] by Antoine-Denis Chaudet (1763-1810). I like that the sheep dog is licking the baby’s foot. On the right is a detail of Nisus et Euryale 1827 by Jean-Baptiste Roman (1792-1835).
We spread out a bit, and when Gordon found me he led me back to a delightful bust. I had already snapped a picture of it. The sculptor, whose subjects included many French Enlightenment and American Revolutionary figures, managed to capture personality and the spark of life in all his portraits. (You can find samples of his work at http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Antoine_Houdon.
>> Original plaster bust of Mme Houdan by Jean-Antoine Houdan (1741-1828). The portrait of painter Louis David (1748-1825) by François Rude (1784-1855) is probably accurate, but it does not have Mme Houdan’s sparkle.
>> Gordon and Diana took a breather while I got caught up in the adjacent Hammurabi rooms of massive Assyrian art (stone, carved about 4000 years ago), before we all reconvened and trekked to the Denon wing for some Italian sculpture.
After making our way quickly through the Catholic gallery (mostly saints, Madonnas, crucifixes), we went on (or back) to Roman sculpture (gods and goddesses, nymphs and satyrs, senators and emperors).
>> Dietisalvi Neroni (1406-1482) by Mino di Giovanni, called Mino da Fiesole (1429-1484) marble. Virgin and Child by Donatello (1386-1466) polychrome terra cotta with gold.
>> Alabaster basin, 2nd c., found in 1720 at the foot of the Aventine, near the Tiber river. One of several elaborate capitals in this gallery; others feature horses, foxes, and other animals.