Saturday, 23 April 2016
Meet Marianne. She’s the personification of the Republic of France, and the visual anchor of Paris’s Place de la République. In particular, she represents the dissolution of the monarchy and the installation of the republic. Power to the people (more or less). A female figure representing liberty goes back to the later 1700s, and became a widely used icon with the 1789 storming of the Bastille, a prison and symbol of royal authority in central Paris.
This is not far from the neighborhood of the blown-up nightclub, etc., and it has been and continues to be a place of political statements and demonstrations.
Below Marianne and still above eye level is an oversized lion guarding a ballot-box. More République. Today he had golden tears.
And, on the surface at knee level, many candles and living and plastic/fabric flowers and plants. The topics addressed in word and picture range around the world.
We chose the Musée des Arts et Métiers for today’s brain teaser. It is a museum of industrial design including models of large, complex things (steel furnace), and smaller complicated mechanical items (measuring devices). They sent us to the attic to work our way through the galleries and descend…. Loved the open beams there….
1713 double horizontal sundial.
1825 clock, close-up of upper section.
Bobbins on a mechanical weaving machine.
Detailed diorama of the building of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.
We descended a final staircase, very fancy, marble, wide, and highly decorated. Above us, curators have installed Clément Ader’s Avion/Éole III (1897), with the form modeled on a bat, with feather-shaped propellors. It crashed on its first attempt at flight, and was restored in the 1980s. It does look rather like a modular bat.
Through a hallway of transportation (this is a Peugeot), we headed for the Chapel of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, a part of what once was the second-most important priory in France, and now within the museum complex. Most of the complex was removed during the Revolution.
The “front” of the church is empty, very interesting, with a pendulum slowly moving, showing the earth’s revolutions.
The bulk of the church-space has exhibits, which include a small engineering wonder—stairs and glass exhibit-floors extending four stories (or so) up. While I had some trepidation about the height, I was glad to get so close to the stained glass panels.
This museum—industrial design from start to finish….