Perspectives of the arts of Paris

 Although this blog is about travel by bicycle, preparation (getting ready) and reflection (what did I discover) are part of every journey.   In fact, these processes are an integral part of life.  But, life itself is in strong relief when travel and new perspectives are involved.

It is not possible to be in Paris without museum visits.  Beyond the the Jewish museum of art & history, there are many others.  One visit was to the Musée d’Orsay – astonishing – especially the exhibition of Pierre Bonnard!

And, since our hotel is across the street from the Pompidou Museum, we took time for a visit.

Serendipity for me (information architect) – a special exhibition of a real architect: one of the most influential of the 20th Century, Le Corbusier.

The Centre Pompidou is devoting a retrospective to the work of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier. Not only a visionary architect, urban planner and theorist of modernity, but also a painter and sculptor, Le Corbusier made a profound impression on the 20th century in dramatically changing architectural design and the way people lived in it. The Centre Pompidou invites audiences to grasp the output of this major figure in modernity through the idea of human proportions, the human body being essential as a universal principle defining all aspects of architecture and spatial composition.


Interesting to have one of the most influential architects of the modern era exhibited in one of the most controversial architectural structures in Paris.  The building would have looked much better if he had designed it.  And, it would have been more beautiful – retaining great simplicity.  Oh well, the current one is functional, and in keeping with much of the post modernist permanent collection…

Nonetheless, a breathtakingly sensitive exhibit showing the full range of Le Corbusier’s genius.  Including his small pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp whose evocative penetration by shafts of light is symbolic of the nuanced, subtle, and dynamic effulgence of a supreme being.  Evocative spirituality by an atheist architect.

After several days in Paris, where aesthetics is celebrated and functionality is tolerated, I have found an irreverent distinction between classical art and modern art.

In classical art one wonders in an astonished appreciation of evocative splendor, “How did he do that?”  In modern art one asks in an astonished awareness of jarring metaphors, “Why did he do that?”