Statues of the Louvre
When entering the enormous stately hall of the Louvre, visitors are struck by the marble terraces of the sculpture gallery. The architects and curators dazzle us by setting the sculptures in broad daylight; the size and grandeur of the figures tell the story.
It might be sacrilege, but I have always been mesmerised by the great sculptures, so much that I’ve sometimes neglected the more acclaimed work in the painting galleries.
As a longtime reader of Greek and Roman mythology, the statues embody the characters that I’ve spent a lifetime with. Despite their intimidating size, I find them comforting in their majesty and beauty, and delight in revisiting my favourite stories in physical form.
The statues retell the stories of gods and heroes at their most dramatic moments: a woman is carried off by the West Wind, a pair of lovers die in battle.
The curators sometimes dialed up the drama by placing the statues in a playful way that told a story. In one gallery, Eros carved his bow from the club of Herakles…
…while across the room, Psyche gazed longingly at him from her sofa.
The Baroque authors housed in their gallery seemed eager to write down the story unfolding in front of them. I was equally excited to capture this diorama.
To me, especially as an artist that adores the human form, the sculpture galleries are a vast, permanent figure drawing class, with the most well-proportioned subjects.
The poses are wonderfully expressive, the draping (what few clothes there are) a delight to draw, and the models hold their pose forever.
I drew a lot of the statues on the spot, but as time was short before I had to catch my train, I also took a lot of pictures for my reference folder.
The sculptures are perfect for drawing practice — the marble shows simple light values, making the forms easy to shade and render.
The figures pose dramatically, telling their story with expression and body language.
I couldn’t resist retelling the little story of Cupid and Psyche with my own thoughts.
The Louvre isn’t just a tourist attraction with a few key spots to check off a bucket list. It’s home to hundreds of vibrant expressions of the inner world of artists.
Next time you visit a museum, try something different and wander off to less populated galleries. Who knows what you’ll find to inspire you?
Until they become available, we have these images and some virtual tours to keep our imaginations alive and flourishing.
Originally published at https://wonderwanderwomen.blogspot.com.