Saturday, July 28, 2007

First rant in a long time

I hate the Museé D'Orsay. Hate it. I hated it the first time I visited it and I have avoided it the five or six times I've been here, but today I dropped my guard and I went. Now I know exactly why I loathed it from day one.
It is inconvenient, uncomfortable, the art is terribly displayed and it seems to have been devised by a sadist. Sure, the building is stunning. But it does not work as a museum. The exhibition spaces are narrow and crowded. The order of the exhibition is incomprehensible, the signs confusing (a trait it shares with the Louvre). It took me like half an hour to find the restrooms, which of course are woefully inadequate for the endless hordes of barbarians that cram every corner of the museum. If you go up to the fifth floor, where they have banished the most popular artists (Van Gogh, Gaugin, Cezanne, etc), you can't turn around and come back if you should so desire. You have to climb all the way to the last floor to then walk down the stairs. If there is another way, I couldn't tell.
Why do they have in room number one a dreadful collection of paintings of the school of Ingres? That stuff should be on the last floor, tucked away where few can see it.
There are some very major paintings, like Manet's "Lunch in the grass", and Corot's "The Gleaners" wonderful work by Monet and Degas, and very good stuff all around, but it's is not necessarily the most earth-shattering collection of Impressionism out there. Or maybe, because most of it is in the upper reaches of hell, by the time you get there you are just not that impressed. The crowds induce genocidal thinking.
My favorite part? The work of Honoré Daumier, master of caricature and a man way ahead of his time. On the ground floor to your left as you enter the museum.
Some good advice if you insist on visiting: Get your tickets online, through fnac. For a tiny extra fee you will avoid the humongous ticket lines at the door. You order the tickets online and pick them up at any fnac store. A marvel.

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