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LOUVRE-NAPOLEON-TUILERIES-FETE OF ST. LOUIS-WATER-WORKS OF VERSAILLES-CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE DAME AND CROWN OF THORNS-LA MORGUE-HOPITAL DES INVALIDES-ST. GERMAIN EN LAYE-CATACOMBS.
PARIS. Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to the Louvre. Of a gallery of art so universally known, and containing, even now, such an invaluable collection of the productions of the French, Flemish, German, Dutch, and Italian, schools, it were impossible for me to speak more than generally. Much that it possessed during the reign of Bonaparte has been restored to the respective capitals whence ransacked; but exhaustless treasures of sculpture, and her sister art, still remain.
The coup-d'œil, on entering such a national gallery, is truly enchanting, where the dazzled eye ranges through a long perspective of 1300 feet, enriched with such choice monuments of art! but yet more impressive are the feelings excited by such evidences, and successful fruits, of those "longings after immortality" in mortal man, that produced such divine triumphs of art, and genius.
Could I particularise any, I would that splendid series, painted by Rubens, of allegories illustrative of the lives of Henry Quatre and his consort, Mary of Medicis. They are twenty-one in num
Louvre and Napoleon.
ber, beginning with the Fates spinning the destinies of the yet unborn queen, with her various achievements, all allegorically treated; and ending with Time unveiling Truth. For dignity of composition, splendour of colouring, fertility of fancy, and facility of execution; and considering them also as a series of paintings, accomplished by the same hand, in the short period of three years, they may be really deemed unrivalled. They deserve their name-Rubens's Poem.
Of Vernet's twelve views of the principal seaports of France, too much in praise can hardly be said. But his ad libitum Marine pictures!-Midday Sun-Moonlight-Fog-or the terrible Tempest. It is impossible to gaze on them without being warmed, or frozen!
I think I have read, that such was this Frenchman's enthusiasm for his art, that he would risk his life, by being lashed to the masts of a vessel, during all the horrors of a tempest, in order that he might the better depict the awful scene.
It was through these galleries of treasures that Napoleon led his imperial, and blooming, bride of Austria, in triumph, on her nuptial night. What combination more resplendent than this? Emperor and Warrior, Lover and Bridegroom, Patron of the arts, and Possessor of those treasures of art which had taken centuries to produce, which kingdoms had mutually shared and boasted, and which remain,
though those empires have vanished, and decayed: -he led his royal consort, triumphant, through galleries where his victories had assembled these matchless jewels, and which his liberality had consecrated to the public benefit of France. Attended by his Court, his Officers, and his Marshals, no parade of show, or splendour of costume, was spared to heighten effect; his people crowded around, and gazed on him with the ardour of enthusiasm! Thrones were then tributary to him; and kingdoms were the rewards he bestowed!
24 Inst. Visited the Tuileries, but did not deem the apartments so richly furnished, or so tastefully diversified, as those of St. Cloud, with two exceptions-a massive silver statue of Ceres as large as life; and the king's bed-chamber.
The style of this room is entirely of purple velvet, most sumptuously embroidered with gold: and his Majesty's dressing-cabinet is of the most delicate golden fillagree.
This royal edifice was begun in 1564, and now presents a vast pile of palace grandeur, of which one front extends a thousand feet: but it exhibits a very discordant, and varying, style of architec
Attached to it are gardens and groves, ever open to the public, and forming one of the most gratifying attractions of Paris.
Many of the statues with which they are adorn
Fête of St. Louis.
ed are good enough to please even connoisseurship; their fountains, and jets d'eau, diversify the scene; while these shady groves, blooming orangeries, and grand parades, are the resort of those who court fashion and notoriety; as well as of the sentimentalist, the recluse, the politician, the student, or the lover; and they suit even for the frolics, and gambols, of children.
The 25th instant was the Fête of St. Louis. On the preceding day, Friday, eight, or nine, theatres were open gratuitously to the public, besides the Opera; and in each house were given the prime pieces, and performers, commencing at two o'clock in the day. On Saturday there were provided for the people, in the Champs Elysées, at the expense of the King, plays, rope-dancing, music, poleclimbing for prizes of a silver, and a gold, watch, buckles, tankard, &c. and in the evening really brilliant fireworks. All Paris was likewise illuminated. The day was remarkably fine, and many thousands partook-of the bounty of their monarch. In addition to these sports, and many others, that which to me, as a spectator, was the most diverting, and ludicrous, was to see the scrambling, pushing, and tumbling for the eatables. For two hours, and at about a dozen different stations, loaves, sausages, and fowls, were thrown to all who could catch them; besides as many streams of wine running for all who could contrive by jumping,
Water-Works of Versailles.
shoving, squeezing, or quarrelling, to thrust up his pail, glass, flask, or any thing else, to receive it. I saw one man get a full pail from one fountain only.
On occasion of this feast also, the grand waters of Versailles were played on Sunday; and so extended are they, that it is a task to attempt to describe them. The central cascade on the parterre nearest the palace represents Latona ;-Seanymphs, and Tritons beneath her discharge torrents of water, which, mounting into the form of an arch many feet above her head, dash themselves upon the marble goddess, and tumble from terrace to terrace into the reservoir beneath, where larger Tritons discharge their liquid torrents from their shells, while beneath them the stone frogs are spouting their element to the very verge of the bason.
Descending this elevation, a larger reservoir has in its centre Neptune driving his car with four horses; who also, with the appropriate appendages of attendant sea-gods, shells, &c. form a beautiful and grand combination of jets d'eau. The execution of these horses appeared to me admirable.
On the left of these is a grove, within which is a peristyle of thirty-two coupled columns of the Ionic order, and of Languedoc marble. Between these columns spring so many jets d'eau to the height of about twenty feet. It were impossible not to