Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Paris in August - Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg – the gates. Let’s enter into the largest public park in Paris situated in the 6th arrondissement of the rive gauche, The Luxembourg Garden. It was doubly exciting to visit this beautiful twenty-five hectares park, to see the natural and well kept landscape gardening, flowers, fountains and antique statues, as well as, the contemporary art exhibition, ArteSenat, which features, every summer, forty-one sculptures and installations by French artists.

Jardin du Luxembourg: Jean-Marc Sicard. I found this installation by Jean-Marc Sicard very attractive. Red ribbons, which flutter in the wind, are tied to branches of this tree-lined walk. They read “Etre dans le vent est un ambition de feuille morte.” Sicard is one of the forty-one contemporary French artists showing in the Artesenat exhibition, until September 21st, in the Luxembourg Garden. The modern pieces look good against the beautiful landscaping, architecture and statuary.

Jardin du Luxembourg: Jean-Marc Sicard – a detail. A detail of Jean-Marc Sicard’s istallation which reads “Etre dans le vent est un ambition de feuille morte.” which roughly translates as "To be trendy is a dead leaf’s ambition". This quote, originally by Milan Kundera, is also the title of the 2008 Artesenat exhibition in the Luxembourg Garden.

Jardin du Luxembourg: the flower borders – a detail. A detail of the flower borders surrounding the Luxembourg Palace, now the house of the French Senate. The Palace was built by the architect, Salomon de Brosse in 1615-1627 in the Florentine style for Maria de Medicis.
Note: I was intrigued by the unusual mixture of lavender and geraniums.

Jardin du Luxembourg: La Fontaine Medicis. I turned a path in the gardens, round the corner of the Senate and was surprised and enchanted to come upon this magical fountain. Built in 1630 at the request of Marie de Medicis to remind her of her childhood walks spent in the Boboli Gardens in Florence. The statue group at the top, Polyphemus Surprising Acis and Galatea by Ottin (1861), was not part of the original fountain but was added after relocation. This fountain is the only one of the Queen’s original decorations in the Luxembourg Garden to survive to the present day. In the foreground a bird’s nest inspired sculpture by Polska in wicker and bamboo.

Jardin du Luxembourg: La Fontaine Medicis – a detail. A detail of The Medicis Fountain. I loved the garlands of ivy that line the path along the water on both sides. In the foreground a floating sculpture by the French artist, Polska entitled La Pirogue, it’s ten meters long and made with bamboo and wicker.
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