June 6, 2016

Caillebotte's Pyramid

Here's a photo of architect I.M. Pei's glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris.

photo:Mark Pimlott

Here's Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte's Paris: Rainy Day, 1877.

Now squint.

Art Institute of Chicago
 Do you see any similarities? I was looking at this from a distance and absent-mindedly wondered what Caillebotte was doing with a pyramid in the background of his famous picture. If one looks at the intersections of the grands boulevards in Paris, pyramids like this are seen on many street corners, like the intersection of rue de Turin and rue de Moscou where this picture was supposedly painted. Of course it all depends on perspective and where you are standing at the time.

With all these "pyramids" in Paris, maybe I.M. Pei's glass example  at the Louvre is easier to understand.


Ilse said...

I think you're onto something here!

le chat said...

the Chinese-American architect built a Egyptian pyramid on French soil? the French were outrage when they first saw it…

Hels said...

Well spotted. Ever since Baron Haussmann did his town planning thing in the second half of the 19th century, that distinct shape emerged.

I know half the population loved IMPei's pyramid when it first emerged out of the Louvre's courtyard, but the other half thought capital punishment should be re-introduced into France specially for Pei.

So it either means that everything that is new is at least initially unwelcome (eg the Eiffel Tower) or that Pei really was culturally insensitive with his shapes and his materials.

Diane said...

Love that you noticed this!