The Pigeon of Samothrace
The Louvre almost had me. The much heralded art museum has a reputation of wearing down those who walk its corridors.
|Park behind Notre Dame Cathedral|
I can’t imagine what the crowds must be like in August on a Tuesday morning. I headed to the Greek sculpture area. The crowds weren’t that bad as most of them were probably crowded around the Mona Lisa. I enjoyed the sculptures of the goddess of the hunt Artemis, the wise Apollo minus his lyre, and the imposing Athena. I saw busts of Plato, Socrates, and my favorite, Aristotle.
Then I came to the beautiful statue that was, in my opinion, stolen from the Greek island of Milos. The exact details escape me, but basically a Greek farmer on Milos found in a cave one day a few marble stones, one of them being the Venus de Milo. They were then ‘taken’ to Paris. Rumor has it the Venus de Milo lost her arms on the way to the Louvre.
|Venus de Milo|
I mustered enough strength to see the Mona Lisa and all the tourists pointing, clicking, and then walking away. Then I decided to head for one last piece before exiting the Louvre.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a headless statue with wings found on the Greek island of Samothrace, though it was supposedly made on the island of Rhodes. Also on display nearby was a case featuring one of the hands of the Winged Victory that was found 100 years after the statue itself was found.
There was one unusual aspect about the room that housed the Winged Victory. There was a pigeon flying around the room. I took a seat on a ledge just as the pigeon took a seat on one of the wings of the statue!
Figuring that such an event may have never happened before or ever happen again, I grabbed my camera and captured the pigeon perched victoriously atop the lady from Samothrace. I was only one of a handful of people that managed to get a picture. Some Louvre guards, upon noticing what was going on, started to take action once they picked their jaws up off the floor. The thought of pigeon droppings on one of the main attractions in the Louvre must have had them thinking about losing their jobs.
|Pigeon perched atop the Victory of Samothrace|
With a picture of a lifetime, a good laugh, and my health improving, I made for one last exhibit: the Code of Hammurabi. I was excited to see the first written code of laws that was laid down by the Babylonian ruler. I ignored my health with each step as I reached the entrance to the Mesopotamian section of the Louvre. But alas, the doors were closed and roped off. As I dejectedly left the Louvre, I forgot to reacquire my Swiss Army knife that I had to relinquish upon entering the Louvre.
I never found out what happened to that pigeon. Maybe he had an interest in Mesopotamian artifacts.