Art Class On-The-Go

Gwen Lee
February 22, 2016

Bonjour from AH215!

I joined the really popular art class (it's a mouthful but the full course title is "History of Paris in Art and Architecture") when someone dropped out. It is highly recommended and highly sought-after so I'm really glad to be able to take the class. Art classes while abroad allows us to learn outside of the classroom. We get to learn about renowned paintings while looking at the actual paintings. We also get to visit landmarks such the Louvre, all the time. And with my art history student ID card, I have gotten to skip the lines at the Louvre multiple times and get free admission. Once, I had no plans after class so I went to see the Mona Lisa on a whim, for free. How cool is that!

Sit in on one of our art classes with this blog! During our last class, we learned about 19th century Haussmann architecture and the creation of the Opéra. We met our professor at a subway exit and walked out to explore Paris together.

This is a random residential building in Paris designed by Haussmann. Haussmann was commissioned by King Napoleon III to remodel the city. Haussmann unified the city's landscape and made it beautiful by designing most of the the buildings similarly, like the one shown above. Most buildings are the same height, color and made of the same stone. Haussmann buildings have six floors. The ground floor has the highest ceiling. The buildings are a creamish off-white color with a gray roof. The gutters of each building are at the same level and all the buildings line up next to each other, fitting together like a puzzle piece.

By having the buildings connect to each other physically, Haussmann lined up all of the buildings onto streets that point towards monumental buildings. This creates a perspective that makes monumental buildings look bigger and more noticeable. It is a trick of the eye due to the lines of the symmetrical buildings.

Haussmann used the perspective method on the Opéra area. Each street leads to the Opéra. This makes the Opéra look huge in comparison and directs your view to this building wherever you stand in the neighborhood. With this perspective design, Paris looks seamlessly harmonious as monuments stand out amongst the crowd of similar looking buildings.

This is another typical Haussmann building. Fun fact: My professor pointed out this specific building because of the flattened corner of the building. She reasoned that by removing the sharp corner of the building, pedestrians and cars could see who was turning the corner. This is another feature typical to Parisian buildings. It's amazing that Haussmann paid attention to every single detail when tackling a task as huge as the city.

L'Opéra is the city's largest primary opera theatre designed by King Napoleon. It is known for being a hodge podge of all different artistic styles. This is the room you enter right after getting a ticket inside. The room has mirrors on every side/wall, making the room look as if it goes on forever.

The Opéra was the place to be for gentlemen to be with their wives on certain days and with their mistresses on others.

This space is designed so that everyone can see everyone. Haute couture (high fashion) was founded around the time the Opéra was open to the public and the rich would pay to have custom attires made so that they could show off their wealth on one of these balconies. 

The ceilings were majestic. Everything was overly grandeur and ornate.

He used lots of gold like the sun king, Louis IV, did in Versailles.

The square space where everyone could be seen and socialized was a precursor to the entrance of the theatre.

The theatre is huge. 

This is the ceiling of the theater. 

This is what a typical art class looks like. We stop by paintings or rooms to sit and admire the architecture and art while our professor gives us the history and logic behind the evolution and building of such designs.

It was amazing to be in this 19th century creation while looking out to see Haussmann's 19th century design of the city as well. Going to Paris is like stepping back in time.

This is a hall on the side of the Opera building. One side is lined with mirrors.

The other side is lined with windows.

This is the great hall in l'Opéra that is very similar to the hall in the sun king's palace in Versailles. Napoleon really loved the grandeur of the Versailles palace and brought it to his Opera.

This looks just like the fireplace from Versailles as well (check out the blog post called "The Sun King and I").

Funner fact: Napoleon commissioned for the ceiling to all be painted in gold intricately like this one but he ran out of money so only two of these were painted.

I hope you enjoyed a typical art class in Paris which improves your knowledge and your legs (a lot of walking is required for these classes). Class is dismissed! 

À tout à l'heure,


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Gwen Lee

<p>Salut! Je m&#39;appelle Gwen. I am a sophomore at Babson College and currently about 11% fluent in French. I hope to remedy that while wining and dining in the beautiful city of Paris. I am majoring in Business with a focus in Marketing. Follow along my stories to experience the ups and downs of studying abroad à Paris!</p>

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