Joan of Arc, The Circus and Life Lessons from Miss Jean Brodie

I think it’s part of the human experience to find art in any of it’s forms captivating. We yearn to visualize our emotions. We want to SEE what we FEEL, what others feel. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, oil on canvas, thread woven in tapestry, or a chiseled block of marble help us to connect with parts of ourselves previously unknown.

In her novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark wrote about the idea that “education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.” I thought about this concept today. Art (literature AS WELL as paintings, etc.) is the most potent vessel for this education.

I’ll be honest: I know nothing about art. Before coming to Paris, Degas, Gauguin, and Seurat were history-book names long ago learned and forgotten. Faint whispered images of ballerinas and parks the only ambiguous attachment to them.
I still know nothing. Sometimes a friend will tell me a brief history or a plaque will tell me intended symbolism, but mostly I wander the halls of any given museum with a sense of undirected awe. I look at every style and decide what I like based on what appeals to me visually and emotionally. I don’t know what is “supposed” to be “good.” I don’t care. I like Rembrandt and Van Gogh. I meander through the sculpture exhibits and the furniture exhibits. Art Nouveau, Neo-impressionism, Realism, and Modernism are all evocative to me.

Today I was at Musée d’Orsay (the second time this week, alone) and half-way through my trip I got over myself and pulled out my notebook and pencil. I haphazardly and sometimes illegibly jotted down the names of obscure and well-known artists alike and some of the works which I found intriguing. Today I found myself gravitating toward the neo-impressionists and post-impressionists so for the most part those are the paintings I will post. There are also a few sculptures!

Le Jardin du Paradis, Constant Montald

Le Passeur, Édouard Vuillard

Jeanne d’Arc, Frémiet
I saw a plaster cast of this at d’Orsay but there is a gilded bronze original in Place des Pyramides in Paris. There are also replicas in Philadelphia, Oregon, and Melbourne.

Les Mille et Une Nuits, Vittorio Zecchin

Tanagra, Jean-Léon Gérôme

Tanagra, Jean-Léon Gérôme

La Toilette, Pierre Bonnard

Ernest Barrias, La Nature se dévoilant à la Science
(Nature Unveiling Herself Before Science)

Le Cirque, Georges Seurat 1891