Musee d'Orsay is the most beautiful museum I've ever seen.
I imagine the Taggart Terminal to look something like this. I kept waiting for the trains to roll through and Dagny to gaze down from an overhead balcony. I'd always heard the Louvre, the Louvre, the Louvre is the museum to visit in Paris, but I can't imagine the Louvre is more amazing than this building. Is it?
I will find out shortly.
My favorite parts of the Musee d'Orsay were ...
- Scupltures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, a French artist. He had this uncanny ability to capture people's personality in their faces, in a very deep and realistic way. I'd look at a bust of one of his friends (he liked to depict his buddies) and think, oh, he had a dry wit and was awfully intelligent but sometimes got a bit of a stick up his ... and then I'd think: How do I know that from a frozen face?!?
- Edgar Degas' ballerinas. Especially this one, "Répétition d'un ballet sur la scène," for its serene black-and-white palette. Degas liked to paint young ballerinas not on stage performing, but in the waiting wings or preparing or practicing. He also depicted their poses in 3-D, and who knows what else. He was quite the fan.
- Vincent Van Gogh's "La Nuit Etoilee" (or "Starry Night"). Yes, it's a classic; yes, it's on everything from mousepads to umbrellas. But there's a reason it's so beloved. It's unbelievably awesome. Viewed in person, it is so much richer than any poster or screensaver. Up close, super close, the brush strokes don't make a lot of sense. But a few feet away, even 10 feet or more, the painting puts you by the sea at night, the twinkling stars vivid against the dark emerald green sky, the midnight blue town laid out before you, gas lights aglow. I never noticed before the couple in the foreground or that the stars form the Big Dipper (or is it the Little Dipper?) constellation. I must have stood, transfixed, for 10 minutes.
There were also paintings by Cezanne (think portraits and apples), Monet (waterlilies, poppies), Manet (out-of-proportion families), Matisse (more lounging women) and goodness knows what else. The place is enormous.
Next up: the Louvre and Musee Rodin!