A day in Paris by Esprit de France #36

A day in Paris | Cultural events | Museums
Caravage - Esprit de France
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Mystery and authenticity on the Right Bank

Who else but Caravaggio could have invented the mysterious chiaroscuro in painting? So much so that night-time and nightlife excesses seem attached to the personality of this artist, whose real name was Michelangelo Merisi. Although he is today considered a painter of genius, his biography is still filled with gray areas. He had protectors but also enemies because he was proud and touchy. He displayed anger towards some of his rivals and went so far as to fight with others: this is the reason why he was forced to flee Rome after another umpteenth night fight marked by a murder. The rest of his wandering life was spent trying to go back to Rome thanks to the Pope's forgiveness, but his death occurred before he obtained it. The Musée Jacquemart-André is currently celebrating his Roman period, which is undoubtedly the height of his short, hectic career. For this select event, 10 masterpieces by Caravaggio, including 7 never shown in France before, have been gathered. Through a themed presentation, they are staged alongside works by his contemporaries such as the Cavaliere d’Arpino or Orazio Gentileschi and others, even more famous, such as Annibale Carracci (the other major master in Italy at the turn of the XVIIth century) and Jusepe Ribera. The decade Caravaggio spent in the eternal city illustrate the extraordinary skill of his realistic style. On darkly contrasted backgrounds, the truth of his painting takes on a metaphysical dimension the works of his rivals and copiers do not achieve. This focus enables us to understand the extraordinary influence that his style had throughout Europe thereafter.

As you leave the exhibition and wish to continue your walk on the right bank, why not head to the Palais Royal Gardens to find the authenticity of the French terroir: wines, truffles, and many other treats.

The owner of the Peyrassol vineyards came up with the excellent idea of setting up in Paris a restaurant-shop where the truffle is declined with inventiveness. Served with wine from the estate, enjoy truffled scrambled eggs, truffle-cream gnocchis with truffle cream or beef carpaccio with truffle slivers. And if truffles are not your cup of tea, then stop off a little further down the street at the Grand Colbert, a 19th century brasserie restaurant (listed building) which serves elegant, traditional cuisine, or at Legrand Filles et Fils, inside the Galerie Vivienne, a wine cellar run by the same family for five generations.