Over the course of my time in Paris this spring, I probably spent the equivalent of three full days in the Louvre and in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which is housed in the Louvre’s Rohan and Marsan wings. Not enough time to do more than get a tiny taste, of course, but I didn’t really attempt to do much more than that.
During my last visit to the Louvre, in 2005, I was walking through the Northern European Painting galleries when i saw the Marie de’ Medici Cycle for the first time. I’d never heard of it before I entered the room. Now I wanted to see it again.
Galerie Médicis is the size of a basketball court, and is lined with 24 large paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, depicting events from the life of Marie de’ Medici, Queen of France, political intriguer, and patron of the arts. Rubens was her court painter.
I didn’t leave the room for more than two hours. It was an intense and intoxicating experience, coming damned close to Stendhal Syndrome.
“Stendhal Syndrome…is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.”
It sounds something like the Sole Meunière Moment, doesn’t it? Stendhal Syndrome is to art what a Sole Meunière Moment is to food.
Here are some of the paintings. All images were found of the Net, and some are more successful than others in capturing the originals. I’ve also put a link to one of those 360 degree views of the gallery at the bottom of this post.
Here’s a 360 view of the Galerie Médicis.