If you go down to the Louvre today...

October 21 2015

Image of If you go down to the Louvre today...

Pictures: BG

...take a baby, and a duster. The first helps you jump the huge queues to get through security (over an hour and a half when we went last week).

And the second to help you see some of the paintings, because they seem never to dust them (as seen above). Some of the pictures were thick with dust, and frames even worse. Especially the highly hung works which evidently haven't been moved for years. I'm all for the Louvre's traditional reluctance to clean paintings,* but surely a light dust wouldn't do any harm every now and then...

The crowds inside are pretty intense. The Mona Lisa room was naturally the busiest, and it always amazes me to see everyone straining to see her, but completely ignoring the Raphaels in the next door room. But to be honest most of the rooms were thronged with people. I was interested to see lots of Chinese visitors, many with tour guides, but many taking a genuine interest in art of all periods, including French 19th Century, Dutch and Flemish 17th Century, and even in the tiny English and American room. All of which makes me feel optimistic for the future of 'Old Masters', or 'Classic Art' as some now call it. People still like the old stuff as much as ever before, perhaps more so. And although some might find looking at great paintings surrounded by noisy, selfie-taking crowds a little trying, I personally find it rather energising. I love to see the art I love loved by so many. 

Another reason to take your baby to the Louvre is that the unfailingly kind and charming room wardens will occasionally insist on an impromptu walking lesson, as below.

* I had a good look at the newly cleaned Leonardo Virgin and Child - wowee, what a mess they've made of that.

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