Profile of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (detail, oil on wood) (1450) by Piero della Francesca (1422-1492)
I’ve received so many responses to my earlier post on ‘Lost Masterpieces’ and our Save the Postcard movement. Here are some more great works of art—captured on postcards. Yes, Save the Postcard.
While in Paris recently, I made my usual pilgrimage to the Eglise St-Sulpice to view and regard and inspect and enjoy the superb Delacroix Biblical epics painted on the massive walls and ceiling dome in the chapel just to the right of the entry door. (A note to viewers of these thrilling paintings: there is a light switch on the wall, hidden to the left that you can click on for better viewing. An old coin-in-the-slot operation has been superceded by frugal timed switches. The pale light does help illuminate on a winter afternoon or a cloudy summer morning.)
At St-Sulpice, I stood and took in the rich and delicious color palette of ‘Heliodorus Expelled from the Temple’ with its wild movement of horses, soldiers, burning buildings, screaming on-lookers, curtains billowing, gold coins tipping forward, and wild and kinetic action in every inch. Two other Delacroix works include ‘Jacob wrestling with the Angel’, St Michael and the Archangel vanquishing the Demon.’
I took a short cut out of the church through the heavy wooden door behind the altar (and to the left of the most exquisite chapel), and headed down to rue de Seine. Gerard Mulot patisserie is an essential stop for French food culture viewing, and for a quick café crème. To accompany: an exquisite slice of clafoutis of fresh fruit (cherry, white peach, or raspberry are among my seasonal favorites).
Refreshed, I head down rue de Seine, stopping to look in my favorite antiques galleries (a future post). I turn left along the quais, past the new Dries van Noten boutique (a future post, it is a must-see for the décor and the collections), and past Sennelier, my favorite art supply shop (where I buy my watercolor paints)…and across the bridge to the Louvre.
After a sweep through the Denon galleries and a reconnoiter to see my favorite sculptures in the Roman and Greek statuary rooms, I headed back to the Carrousel arcade. The book shop/post card shop was on my itinerary.
The Contessa del Carpio, Marquise of Solana, detail, oil on canvas, 1493. By Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
Would there be a selection of post cards? Are art post cards indeed disappearing—to be replaced by digital images or dispensed with altogether?
There was the familiar wall of postcards, with the Louvre’s greatest hits. I selected a group of portraits shown here. (I’ve learned from experience that landscapes, in miniature, don’t hack it, and small postcards depicting massive works (“The Wedding Feast at Cana’ by Veronese, for example) make a mockery of the painting’s grandeur.
Portrait of the Infanta Marie-Marguerite, daughter of Philippe IV, King of Spain. Oil on canvas, by Velasquez (1599-1660)
Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, called Mona Lisa or La Gioconda, (1503-1506) by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).
I also found a Georges de la Tour painting of a card game. And I could not resist buying the post card of the Mona Lisa (which I never visit any more—seeing work through tinted bullet-proof glass with gaggles of the Nikon flashers is not my idea of viewing and enjoying a painting.)
After purchasing these precious postcards, I made my way to the adjacent post office, bought some superb stamps, and posted a selection to my friend Theadora. Mission accomplished.
Marina Waldstein, the Ninth Marquise de Santa Cruz, oil on canvas, by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
Now I have these compelling miniatures to gaze at, inspect, admire, and rediscover.
Long live art postcards. And bravo to the Louvre administration for offering such a beautiful array. I will be back.