Tag Archives: Antiquity

Versailles and Antiquity exhibition at the Palace of Versailles

Versailles Antique Chateau couloir 2 femmes

The Palace of Versailles is holding a temporary exhibition until March 17th, so what better excuse to visit this magical place? Especially since it’s only a quick 40-minute train ride away from Paris. Versailles and Antiquity presents the relationship between the palace and Greek and Roman mythology and history, bringing together over 200 works of art.

Versailles Antique Chateau couloir disque

This is not the most striking exhibition I’ve seen in Versailles compared to the ones dedicated to fashion and contemporary art. Perhaps my lack of knowledge in mythology didn’t allow me to fully appreciate it. However, the sheer beauty of the works of art and the palace was enough to make the trip worth it (and on top of that the visit ended with lunch at Angelina).

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Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and pleasure

Versailles Antique Chateau couloir Diane

The antique sculpture Diana of Versailles was installed by Louis XIV in the Hall of Mirrors. It was then moved to the Louvre during the French Revolution and is back at the Palace for the first time since 1797.

Versailles Antique Chateau Latone

This dramatic sculpture was originally placed at the top of a fountain in the gardens of the Palace. It depicts Latona with her children Diane and Apollo imploring help from their father Jupiter.

Versailles Antique grande salle

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Versailles Antique Chateau 2 statues

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Sickness

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Versailles Antique Chateau  3 portraits

Versailles Antique Chateau barometre

The great barometer of Louis XV and Louis XVI

Angelina hot chocolate

How the visit ended. I could have made the trip to Versailles just for this hot chocolate.

To see more of my pictures of Versailles, you can read my post The Palace of Versailles: visiting a royal past and have a look at my Instagram pictures.

And to end on a completely unrelated note, I was recently featured on the blog City Girl in Red Lipstick, where I explain why I’m addicted to red lipstick. Bisous!

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Ancient Egyptian treasures at the Louvre

After the party and dinner in the Napoleon III apartments at the Louvre, let’s move on to another department, another continent and another time period! My final stop in this fabulous museum was inspired by Ava, a loyal reader of Ritournelle who runs the blog Hits and Fits with her friend. Originally from California, Ava grew up in Paris and insisted that her parents take her on monthly visits to see the mummies at the Louvre. When I read about this childhood memory in her email, I knew I had to see these treasures from Ancient Egypt for myself.

When entering the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, you are greeted by a large relief covered with mysterious hieroglyphs. What could they possibly mean?

Maybe we’d better ask the scribe.

Or even better, the Egyptian deity Thoth, scribe to the gods, depicted here as a friendly baboon.

Let’s now focus on the Ancient Egyptian burial customs. It is fascinating how the Egyptians could erect monuments like the Pyramids with their relatively basic tools. Much smaller pieces like this sarcophagus are impressive already by their engravings and mass. Stone sarcophagi were commonly used to bury wealthy Egyptians.

However Egyptians ran out of materials to build these sarcophagi and relied on wood instead. The drawings depict the activities that the deceased would enjoy in the afterlife.

Time has not erased the emotions of the deceased expressed on the inner coffins: resigned, worried about an uncertain fate, confident facing the unknown or amused by our stares.

 

 

 

 Waiting in line

Isn’t this pattern beautiful?

And finally, the star of the Louvre Department of Egyptian Antiquities: the mummy and its mask.

Canopic jars were used to store the viscera of the deceased for the afterlife. The one with a hawk head preserved the intestines and the one with a jackal head contained the stomach.

Scarab charms played an essential role in Egyptian burial rituals. Placed on the chest, it was supposed to prevent the heart from testifying against the deceased during the judgment of the soul by Osiris.

Admiring these treasures at the Louvre is an incredible experience, but I wish I could have seen them in their original environment in Egypt!

As I exited the museum, these two intriguing pieces caught my eye. I found out they were actually antique sarcophagi from Lebanon. It is interesting to see how they were caught between two cultural influences: Egypt for their shape and Greece for the sculptures of the faces.

Ava was fascinated by Ancient Egypt in her childhood. And you, did you have a favorite time period?

Après avoir visité les appartements Napoléon III du Louvre, place à un autre département, un autre continent et une autre époque ! La deuxième partie de mon tour dans ce fabuleux musée m’a été inspirée par Ava, une lectrice fidèle de Ritournelle qui tient le blog Hits and Fits avec une amie. Ava la Californienne a grandi en France et suppliait régulièrement ses parents de l’emmener voir les momies au Louvre. Quand elle m’a raconté ça par mail, j’ai eu envie de voir ces chefs-d’œuvre de l’Antiquité de mes propres yeux.

L’introduction au département des Antiquités Egyptiennes se fait par les mystérieux hiéroglyphes. Devinez leur signification ? Peut-être vaut-il mieux demander l’avis du scribe. Ou encore mieux, consulter Thot, le dieu des scribes ici représenté sous la forme d’un babouin bien sympathique.

Venons-en maintenant aux rites funéraires. Les Pyramides nous fascinent en partie par l’ingéniosité des Egyptiens qui ne disposaient pas d’outils sophistiqués pour leur construction. Mais je trouve qu’on peut déjà admirer ce sarcophage entièrement gravé qui doit peser un poids considérable. La pierre était un matériel destiné aux Egyptiens fortunés. Cependant, les matériaux sont venus à manquer pour la construction des sarcophages et les Egyptiens ont alors utilisé principalement le bois. Les dessins représentent les activités qu’exercerait le défunt après sa mort.

Au-delà de la beauté des cercueils admirablement bien conservés, les expressions des morts nous touchent encore à travers les millénaires : résignés à passer dans l’autre monde, inquiets de leur sort, sereins face à l’inconnu ou amusés à la vue de notre regard inquisiteur.

Et enfin, la pièce-clé des antiquités égyptiennes du Louvre : la momie et son masque funéraire. Pour être honnête, je n’ai pas tellement envie de voir ce qu’il y a sous les bandelettes… (Recherchez « mummy remains » sur Google Images et vous verrez ce que je veux dire.)

Les vases canopes étaient destinés à recueillir les viscères embaumés des défunts. Celui à tête de faucon contenait les intestins et celui à tête de chacal l’estomac.

Les scarabées étaient d’une importance essentielle dans les cultes funéraires. Déposés sur le buste, ils assuraient que le cœur ne témoignerait pas contre les défunts lors du jugement de l’âme par le dieu Osiris.

Voir ces chefs-d’œuvre de l’histoire à Paris est une grande chance, mais je regrette de ne pas pouvoir les admirer dans leur environnement initial !

En me dirigeant vers la sortie, j’ai aperçu ces pièces intrigantes. Il s’agit de sarcophages antiques du Liban. On peut y voir le croisement des influences égyptiennes pour leur forme et grecques pour la sculpture du visage.

Ava était fascinée par l’Egypte Antique quand elle enfant. Et vous, y avait-il une époque de l’histoire que vous préfériez ?

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