Poor Botticelli!

For a significant number of visitors, and even tourist guides or art lecturers, in my opinion, there is a sort of “Bermuda Triangle” in Le Louvre Museum- formed by the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Milo’s Venus and the Mona Lisa, who outshine all the rest of the Museum. Three works at which it seems usual to look at top speed, because of the necessity to proceed, in one hour to the following visit …

In this whirlwind of the fast track visit, focused on three masterpieces, it is necessary to go from the Winged Victory of Samothrace to Mona Lisa. It is necessary to move forward by the Square Lounge and the Big Gallery and, hop!, we are face to face of the Mona Lisa and in the back the Veronese “Wedding at Cana”, who presents the defect of a too big dimensions for some digital cameras…

Between the main staircase leading to the Victory of Samothrace and the Square Lounge, are two rooms through which most visitors rush, in which are exposed several murals frescoes by Florentine and Lombard painters of the XV and XVIth centuries, that once decorated aristocratic houses and religious buildings.

The First Room of the Department of Italian Paints, named Room Percier and Fountain, shelters two magnificent frescoes of Botticelli: ” Venus and three graces offering presents to a girl ” and ” A young man presented by Venus to seven liberal arts “, both realized between 1483 and 1485, and discovered in 1873 on the first floor of the Villa Lumni, a property in the neighborhood of Florence which belonged between 1469 and 1541 to the Tornabuoni family, allied with the Medici family. Botticelli had been ordered this decoration on the occasion of the wedding of one of its members by this influential Florentine dynasty.

The Second Room, named Duchâtel’s Room, shelters a fresco by Fra Angelico and two Bernardino Luini’s frescoes. The fresco by Fra Angelico, “The Calvary” dates 1440-1445, and both Bernardino Luini’s frescoes, «The Adoration of the Magi” and ” The nativity and the announcement to the shepherds “, date around 1520-1525. The Calvary of Fra Angelico decorated formerly one of the walls of the dining hall of the Convent San Domenico of Fiesole. Both Bernardino Luini’s frescoes were painted for an oratory of Greco Milanese, near Milan.

These marvels, masterpieces of the spirit and the art, are obviously located in a wrong place for the “marathon runners” of our museums, “visit collectors”, or “storytellers” travellers… The Louvre welcomed more than 8.8 million visitors in 2011 : how many of them stopped to contemplate these frescoes? Cultural tourism is a very good thing, but a little more peace and serenity to better enjoy the visits would be highly desirable, in my opinion. I deeply recommend you, to contemplate these frescoes on the occasion of your next visit at the Louvre!

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