« Je donne mon avis non comme bon mais comme mien. » — Michel de Montaigne

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1 novembre 2017

Quelques alternatives toujours éprouvées au courrier électronique

Classé dans : Musique, Peinture, dessin, Photographie, Sciences, techniques, Société — Miklos @ 12:57

« Offrir une tournée à un facteur ne manque pas d’à-propos. » — Frédéric Dard
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Quand un facteur s’envole
S’envole, s’envole
C’est qu’il est trop léger
Alors pour voyager
Au-dessus des platanes
Il plane, il plane
Au-dessus des maisons
Il chante une chanson
Les oiseaux à la ronde
Lui font bonjour
Autant d’oiseaux au monde
Autant de lettres d’amour
Que le facteur apporte
Et glisse sous les portes
C’est le courrier du cœur
Le courrier du bonheur
C’est le courrier du cœur
Le courrier du bonheur
Joie sans pareille
Pour le facteur
Comme il fait bleu
Qu’il fait bon dans son cœur !
Il s’émerveille
Ô liberté
Joli soleil
Amour clarté !

Quand un facteur s’envole
S’envole, s’envole
Il voit le monde petit
Les gens comme des fourmis
Le clocher du village
Bien sage bien sage
L’école et la mairie
Et la gendarmerie
Sa fiancée toute rose
Dans un jardin
Comme une fleur éclose
Au milieu du chemin
Alors vite il se repose
Et cueille cette rose
Qu’il emporte avec lui
Seul dans son paradis
Qu’il emporte avec lui
Seul dans son paradis
Et c’est ainsi
Ainsi que finit
La chanson folle
Du facteur qui s’envole.

Charles Trénet

14 octobre 2017

“What a blind person needs is not a teacher but another self.” (Helen Keller)

Classé dans : Arts et beaux-arts, Peinture, dessin, Sculpture — Miklos @ 11:41

B*** in front of the Mona Lisa, with my extended arm behind her.B*** in front of the Mona Lisa. Musée du Louvre. (source)

I was recently solicited by a great guy, H***, in order to meet and guide a friend of his, B***, an impressively courageous 24 year-old blind woman, into the Orsay and Louvre museums. This turned out not only to be a privilege, but a transformative experience (for me). B***, who lives in Western Asia, had graduated last June in psychology. To quote her profile: “I’m a young trainer in youth field. I’ve been doing projects, activities, seminars etc. in NGOs working with disadvantaged groups especially people with disabilities, children and women. I’m involving events and activities for doing disability activism. I’m also writing in an online journal. I love writing, it opens my mind and makes me feel more confident by making decesions and acting.” And does she act! She came to Paris for a two-day stay, after having visited Malta and Rome. Alone. It was her wish to see the paintings in Orsay and the Louvre.

We started with the Orsay museum. It turned out that Orsay has no aids whatsoever for blind people – like a “tactile” room (as the Louvre does, see below) or descriptive audio guides. Frustration (mine) can lead to unconventional ideas: I suggested we go to the museum store, where I knew there were replicas of statues, and ask if she could touch them. The sales­woman readily agreed, and this allowed B*** to explore some of the sculptures of this museum with my explanations about the artists.

But what about the paintings? This turned out to be quite a different challenge. The use of such qualifiers as “big”, “small”, “great”, “amazing”, “striking” that we may use while standing in front of a work of art and sharing our feelings with a fellow visitor would provide no useful information to B***. I felt it was necessary to concentrate on being descriptive and factual: size of the painting, overall layout and shapes, colors, tonality and shades (B*** had at a time perceived colors), texture (of the skin, of the hair, of the clothing, of the buildings and the vegetation)1. Think about how to describe “objectively” the faces of the women in Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette, for instance, the soft skin, the dark eyes and eyebrows, the red lips and the so characteristic smile, the rosy cheeks, the shape of the faces, the way they hold their head… What about the differences between the settings of the couple of paintings of the famous Étretat cliff – angle, colors, weather and overall atmosphere? This was a first for me. I hadn’t consciously thought of works that way before, but felt I had to try my best to project what I saw rather than what I felt into her mind.

The following day we went to the Louvre. We first visited its touch gallery, which currently “features 18 casts that show the diversity of the museum’s sculpture collection, from ancient to modern times” illustrating the both clothed and unclothed body through time. Watching B***’s hands explore with such a light touch the scultpures was fascinating. But at times, especially with drapes folding in complex ways around (parts of) the some of the bodies, she got lost, so I took the liberty to lead her hand as gently as I could and explain what she was touching locally by describing the overall shape. Next to each work, there is a Braille notice identifying the work… but unfortunately only in French. At the entrance of that room, there is a bilingual panel (in normal alphabet), explaining the genres that were displayed in the room. The Braille translation below again was only in French, so I provided an oral translation of the text.

We then went to the Mona Lisa room with Saul who had joined us meanwhile (and who took the above photo). As we unfortunately couldn’t come to the museum at opening time, it was already full with dense hordes of visitors. We managed to find a small space at the far left of the barrier keeping them away from the painting, and I started describing the work to her. Just a couple of minutes later, a guard came and asked us to follow him: he brought us to another barrier much closer to the painting – maybe less that 1 m away – where I had never seen anyone standing. This allowed me to notice much subtler differences in colors and shades (e.g., in the clothing) that I had from the public standpoint, which I then attempted conveying to B***, together with the larger features of the painting – the overall shape (foreground, landscape background), her posture (body, arms, hands), detailed shape (face, cheeks, chin, eyelids…), colors, tonality and shades. As we weren’t allowed to stay very long there (we were in between the general public and the painting), my explanations had perforce to be cut short after a few minutes: for example, it would have been informative to explain why Renaissance Italian paintings had such half or quartier openings into the background (as can be seen in other paintings in that room).

After that painting, there was the challenge to describe Veronese’s immense (6.66 m x 9.90 m) Wedding Feast at Cana, which stands opposite that of Mona Lisa (so she wouldn’t be bored only watching the back of tourists taking selfies without even looking at her): the palace structure and its levels, the people – their social classes and functions, their clothing, their attitudes and expressions… -, the animals (including the dog’s head in the upper left corner), and so many other aspects.

We ended up by visiting part of the Ancient Egypt section – that of the 4,400 year-old Seated Scribe with its poised position and calmly powerful expression, or – to me some of the most touching works I have seen – those of couples seated side by side, with a very formal and stiff attitude in the front, and a tender one in the back, where either or both have an arm discreetly holding their spouse around the back or on the shoulder. The one pictured below has the additional characteristic of being ever so slightly bent, which is hardly noticeable from the front: they must be an older, loving couple.

Transformative indeed.

A married couple and their child, seen from behind, with the wife's hand on her husband's shoulder. 4th dynasty, 2620-2500 B.C. Musée du Louvre.A married couple and their child. 4th dynasty, 2620-2500 B.C. Musée du Louvre. (front view)


1. Come to think of it, it reminds me of the way I introduced over 45 years ago another handicaped (in this case: paralyzed) person – my friend Guy – to classical music, by having him listen to Bach’s Cantata BWV 106 (Gottes Zeit). Before every movement, I would draw his attention to melodic lines (by singing them the best I could), harmony and polyphony, textures of instruments, voices of soloists and choir. I had never done it before (nor after, as it turns out), and even 40 years later he would tell me how it transformed his life. Not to speak of mine.

9 juillet 2017


Classé dans : Arts et beaux-arts, Peinture, dessin, Photographie — Miklos @ 21:06

Antinoüs Mondragone. Vers 130 après J.-C. Cliquer pour agrandir.

Achille chez le roi Lycomède. Vers 240 après J.-C. Cliquer pour agrandir.

Achille chez le roi Lycomède. Cliquer pour agrandir.

Giovanni Bellini : La Vierge et l’Enfant entre saint Pierre et saint Sébastien. Vers 1487.
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Domenico Ghirlandaio : Portrait d’un vieillard et d’un jeune garçon. Vers 1490.
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Carlo Braccesco : L’Annonciation. Vers 1490-1500. Cliquer pour agrandir.

Orazio Samacchini (1532-1577) : Mercure ordonne à Énée d’abandonner Didon.
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Tiziano Vecellio, dit Titien : Les Pèlerins d’Emmaüs. Vers 1530. Cliquer pour agrandir.

Véronèse : Les Noces de Cana. 1562-1563. Cliquer pour agrandir.

Louis David : Les Sabines. 1799. Cliquer pour agrandir.

►►► Autres photos ici.◄◄◄

26 novembre 2016

Figurines en terre cuite grecques : masques de théâtre. Musée du Louvre.

Classé dans : Peinture, dessin, Photographie — Miklos @ 0:47

Masque tragique de jeune homme. Provenance : Utique, Tunisie. IIe s. av. J.-C.
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Masque de satyre. Provenance : Grèce. Ier s. av. J.-C. – Ier s. ap. J.-C..
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Masque de paysan. Provenance : Béotie. Fabrication : Tanagra. Début IIIe s. av. J.-C.
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Masque de courtisane ou pseudokoré (n° 39 ou 34 de la liste de Pollux). IIIe –IIe s. av. J.- C.
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Masque barbu (pornoboskos ou prostituteur). IIIe – IIe s. av. J.-C.
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►►► Autres photos du Louvre ici.◄◄◄

Le roi Aménophis IV-Akhenaton (vers 1350 av. J.-C.) et sa réincarnation. Musée du Louvre.

Classé dans : Peinture, dessin, Photographie — Miklos @ 0:19

Le roi Aménophis IV-Akhenaton. Vers 1350 av. J.-C. (an 3 à 5 du règne).
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►►► Autres photos du Louvre ici.◄◄◄

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