When we were in Paris, one of the places we visited was

 

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The Louvre.

The entrance fee was 10 euros if I’m not mistaken. I do think the glass triangle thingy (which is the entrance) spoils the whole look. The Louvre is actually the long stretch of buildings surrounding it.

Beautiful.

 

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Now, the thing is, I’m not a big fan of arts (refer Florence). There’s just so many statues and paintings and carvings I could take in at one time. I mean, they all look pretty much the same don’t they?

 

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Look at the ceiling, whoah!!

 

Most people come to the Louvre for one thing, and one thing only-

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The Monalisa.

 

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And truth to be told, this room was the only jam-packed room in the whole museum.

Once you’ve seen the Monalisa, you’ve seen them all. That’s what I think.

 

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This painting could be found opposite the Monalisa. For some reason it impressed the hell out of me (maybe coz it’s so huge). I think it’s called The Wedding.

 

Coming back to the title of the post- one of the genres I love is history fiction. Particularly that of England between the 15th-16th century.

 

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The most recent one I’ve read is Portrait of An Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennet (which also unveiled the mystery of the two princes in the Tower!!).

And from this, I came to know about memento mori.

 

Memento Mori is a Latin phrase which means “remember you must die”. The concept came from ancient Rome, where a Roman general in a parade of victory was often accompanied by a slave. This was to remind him, and everyone else, that no matter how high his position was today, tomorrow he could fall.

 

For whatever you are in this world, you would die and return to God just like any other commoner.

 

Most memento mori are products of Christian arts. Symbolic images of death (skeletons, winged skulls, angels, clocks) were incorporated into paintings, tombs, statues…you named it. A reminder that life is but a fleeting pleasure, and that death awaits every of us.

 

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Phillippe De Champaigne’s Vanitas: Still Life With A Skull depicts three things; Life, Death and Time.

 

Back then, people often carried small reminders to remind them of their mortality. The most famous would be of Mary, the Queen of Scots (the great niece of King Henry VIII, the husband to the infamous Anne Boleyn) who owned a large watch, carved in the form of a silver skull.

 

Had I known all this back then, I imagine I’d  spend an enjoyable time trying to find the memento mori in each piece of art instead of putting all my efforts trying not to yawn and looking bored.

 

Haih.

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