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My Favorite Paintings at Petit Palais, Paris

Art Museums in Paris are far more than just the Louvre and d'Orsay and I was delighted to discover more and more during my second visit to Paris in 2008.

Not far from d'Orsay, crossing the Seine through Pont Alexandre III, I arrived at a little gem, Petit Palais (Little Palace), which was showcasing Goya's cycle of "Disaster of War", monumental and deeply moving.  However, I'll stick to my rule, and discuss in my blog only the permanent collections of the museum.

IMG_8320 - Petit Palais, Paris

Under its ornate dome, the works on display were rather somber and gloomy, and that particular contrast increased the poignancy of those paintings.  My favorite painting there actually was a group canvases named "La Bouchée de pain (The Mouthful of Bread)", a study for "Charity", by Ferdinand Emmanuel Pelez de Cordova, called Fernand Pelez.  This study showed people, all male, in their prime or older ages, bogged down by toils and weariness, waited in line for a portion of charity bread.  The pain of those unfortunate were illustrated by their slow gait and bent bodies, mostly in clear silhouette, against muted background, silent and stoic.  The moving emotion was authentic and intense however understated.  These canvases, though not small, felt intimate and one felt intruding on those people's privacy and dignity.

IMG_8322 - La Bouchée de pain (The Mouthful of Bread), études pour La Charité (Charity), 1892-1908, Ferdinand Emmanuel Pelez de Cordova, dit Fernand Pelez, Petit Palais, Paris
La Bouchée de pain (The Mouthful of Bread), études pour La Charité (study for Charity), 1892-1908, Ferdinand Emmanuel Pelez de Cordova, called Fernand Pelez

IMG_8323 - La Bouchée de pain (The Mouthful of Bread), études pour La Charité (Charity) (detail), 1892-1908, Ferdinand Emmanuel Pelez de Cordova, dit Fernand Pelez, Petit Palais, Paris.jpg
La Bouchée de pain (The Mouthful of Bread), études pour La Charité (study for Charity), (detail), 1892-1908, Ferdinand Emmanuel Pelez de Cordova, called Fernand Pelez

With a great contrast, my second favorite painting was a sweeping drama of the battle scene in Cannae, took place in 216 BC, in southeast Italy.  The panorama of melee and destruction showed the horrifying waves of slaughtering hosts and the tangles of lifeless limbs like the stumps of fallen trees.  The carefully planned composition showed an utter chaos, with a muted color palette, as if the destruction was too painful to utter or to be heard; and it demonstrated one of the sources of the pain people suffered from in the charity line above.

IMG_8325 - IMG_8326 - La Bataille de Cannes, 1863, François-Nicolas Chifflart, Petit Palais, Paris
La Bataille de Cannes (The Battle of Cannae), 1863, François-Nicolas Chifflart


My Favorite Museum Collection Series

>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 63: My Favorite Paintings at Musée Marmottan Monet
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 61: My Favorite Paintings at Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited
Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 2/8/13 | tags: Petit Palais Paris traditional realism figurative







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