Aug 15, 2015

A Beefcake Tour of the Louvre

I love the Louvre.  I could go every day.  But everybody else on Earth, literally, wants to visit, too.  It gets 8,000,000 visitors per year,  so if you're not careful, you'll be caught up in the crowds.

1. Go on Wednesday or Friday evening (they're open to 9:45 pm).  Or else Christmas Eve; you'll have the place to yourself.

2. Buy your ticket online, and pick it up at a FNAC store.

3. Don't go through the crystal pyramid; try the Passage Richelieu, off the Rue de Rivoli.

4. Skip the Big Sights.  The Mona Lisa looks like the Mona Lisa, and the Venus de Milo looks like the Venus de Milo.  Target!

People have been going to the Louvre for beefcake since 1793.  In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald spent afternoons looking at the penises on statues.

Here's a perfect 3-hour beefcake tour.

6:45 pm: Having picked up your ticket and had a quick snack, go through the Passage Richelieu, and wander around in the French sculptures for about 15 minutes.  Look for Julien's Wounded Gladiator and Desjardin's Captive (above).

7:00 pm: Go up two flights to the Second Floor, and the German, Dutch, and  Flemish paintings.  Finding the beefcake here takes a little work, so it's best to do it at the start, when you're not tired yet.  Look for Malouel's round Pieta with the naked Jesus, Carl Van Loo's portrait of Neptune, and Van Dyck's Amor and Psyche.  About 20 minutes.

7:20 pm.  Next stop, the French paintings in the Sully Wing.  You're looking for Oedipus and the Sphinx (Ingres), the semi-nude Echo and Narcissus (Poussin), Berthelemey's Creation of Man, Couder's Fight Between Hercules and Antaeus (top photo), Pierre Subleyras's Charon, with a nude backside (left), and Francois Boucher's Venus Demanding Arms for Aeneas.

More after the break

And the piece that hangs on every gay man's wall, Flandrin's Young Man Nude by the Sea. 

About 40 minutes.

8:00 pm: down to the First Floor, turn right, and stop for a snack at the Cafe Mollien, by the Mollien Staircase (regular snacks are essential to the successful museum experience).

8:15 Turn right again to the Denon Wing, and the Italian Renaissance paintings. Jesus on the cross, Pietas, Saint Sebastians, miscellaneous saints, demons, and muscle gods from everyday life.

You're looking for Magegna's Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, the androgynous John the Baptist of Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino's St. Jerome Supporting Two Men on the Gallows, Clovio's Rape of Ganymede. About 45 minutes.

9:00 pm: Downstairs to the Ground Floor again, and the Etruscan Antiquities. The beefcake is big, blatant, and ubiquitous, though somewhat more common in the Greek antiquities.  1/2 hour should be enough time to gawk at the Apollos, Ares, satyrs, torsos, Hermes Tying His Sandal, and The Torment of Marsyas. 

Save a few minutes for the Italian Renaissance sculptures, especially Michelangelo's Slaves.

9:30 pm: Believe me, you don't want to spend more than three hours at any museum, or you'll come down with image overload.  Retrace your steps (the best part of any museum visit) to leave through the Passage Richelieu.

9:45 pm Head north toward the Pyramides Metro Station, have dinner at Naniwa-Ya (11 Rue Sainte-Anne), and then stop in at the Til't Sauna (41 Rue Sainte-Anne) to look at real-life penises.

See also: A Beefcake Tour of France and A Beefcake Tour of the Musee d'Orsay.