Love at Orsay
First of all, the most famous erotic work in the history of art: Gustave Courbet's “Origin of the World” has been on display at the Musée d'Orsay since 1995. This masterpiece, which was completed in 1866, has not aged a day. It still induces the same sense of surprise and disturbance that it did when it was revealed to the public. Commissioned at the time by the Turkish-Egyptian diplomat Khalil-Bey, it was discovered much later that the model for the painting was none other than Constance Quéniaux, a dancer and lover of the diplomat, with luxuriant hair. The metro ticket was not yet fashionable, since the first metro ticket appeared in 1900 with the arrival of the first metro line in Paris.
Rodin, the (not) thinker
Let's continue with the work “Iris, messenger of the gods”, a sculpture which can be found at the Rodin Museum. This work, dated 1895, was created 30 years after the “Origin of the world”, known for its induced scandal but also fascination. Under the name of “Iris, messenger of the gods”, “Flying Figure”, or even “Eternal Tunnel”, the work is both symbolic and mythological, but also assumes a strong formal presence. The aerial, dynamic, work suggests the dance movements of the French cancan and the gymnast's tearing apart. The position, which is absent of the head and an arm, tightens the framing on it’s subject’s femininity and leaves us... wondering or thinking to remain in the context.
There’s no party without Renoir
At the Orangery, you will discover Auguste Renoir's “Bathing Girl with Long Hair”. This bathing nude is depicted emerging from the water in a timeless landscape. The artwork depicts its subject draped with a delicate white cloth over her bust. Her golden, unfurled hair echoes the imperceptible movement of the vegetation in the background, making the scene vibrant and undulating on all sides. The softness and roundness of the face also seem in perfect harmony with the flesh and curves of the body. This period of the painter is called the "pearly period" because of the vibrant and luminous rendering of the bodies' complexions. Is it good that we are in the Orangery in public, or we’d really want to get some alone time with this beauty.
An eternal love story
Let's take a walk to the carousel garden where you will find a statue called “Flore” by Aristide Maillol. This work commissioned in 1910 is hidden among the bushes in the ears. It represents the body of a young woman which the artist will never stop reinventing: Dina Vierny, model turned muse inspired by her until his death. Both the goddess of spring and flowers, it emanates a sublime sensuality, including the treatment of drapes that delicately caresses the young woman with the callipygian figure. But we only touch with our eyes!
The Sex of Paris
Finally after crossing the Pont Neuf bridge, you will discover the square of the Place Dauphine which Breton called the vagina of Paris because of its triangular shape. We find its buildings mixing brick and stone, the galleries which border it, its small cafés where it is good to rest a few hours... The number 15 on the square has for example welcomed for a long time one of the most famous couples of the French cinema, Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. But the square also aroused the imagination of many poets and writers: in his collection of texts “La Clé des Champs” published in 1953, the surrealist poet André Breton nicknamed this square the "Sex of Paris"! For the poet, the square looks like female vagina surrounded by two legs, represented by the two arms of the Seine. With a lot of imagination, one could perhaps be persuaded of it... No?
Photos: 1 – , 2 – anubisabyss, 3 – La Parisienne du Nord, 4 – FramaKa, 5 – Des Racines et des Ailes