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Carbonate the Louvre with book by James Gardner, "The Many Lives of the World's Most Famous Museum"

I couldn't find the recent thread where many of us chewed over whether or not the Louvre and the Mona Lisa are worth the trouble (this topic has come up many times in the forum over the years) so I'm adding this note here in recommended reading --
James Gardner put out a great new overview of the history of the Louvre that really brings it alive this past summer, under the title
The Louvre: The Many Lives of the World's Most Famous Museum (Atlantic Monthly Press)
and he does a great job of connecting the museum to all of modern western history and art and architecture.

You can see a typically erudite review by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker issue dated 26 October [print issue]
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/10/26/in-love-with-the-louvre
The online version is dated a week earlier.

Gopnik points out that most of the best items in the museum were all added by 1870 and were there for the Impressionists and Modernists to learn from, but the scope of this book doesn't go very much into how art production and collection continued and still continues today, available in the tourist-favored Orsay, etc.

Posted by
1669 posts

Thanks Avirosemail,
I have The New Yorker issue open to Adam Gopnick’s review. Your post is nudging me to read it.

I notice you use Rick’s term - “carbonate” your experience! Haha! RS tickles me no end and, I think a lot of us on the forum.

Posted by
699 posts

I presume Rick's fondness for the term "carbonate" is a reference to his childhood idol, Don Ho .

Posted by
11972 posts

Sounds like a good read, avirosemail. Thanks for the heads up!

This may be of interest, as it is a part of the museum's story? I'd learned upon reading about Galleria Borghese in Rome how a chunk of its treasures ended up in the Louvre in the early 1800's. Napoleon had pressured his brother-in-law, Camillo Filippo Ludovico Borghese, into selling him a large part of the collection to enhance his own in what was then Musée Impérial/Musée Napoléon. Here's a short piece from the NY Times about that transaction:

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/29/arts/29iht-melik29.html

(If you can't get by the paywall, clearing your browser of cookies/website data for the Times should let you in.)

Posted by
4382 posts

Thanks for the link, Avi.

And I know I'm hopelessly out of touch, but what does carbonate mean in this context? Enhance? Brighten? Bubble? Effervesce? Help!

And on the yes/no on the Louvre and Mona Lisa: Definitely yes on the Louvre, indifferent on the Mona Lisa. What I most appreciate about the Louvre is the incredible range of art exhibited.

Posted by
1512 posts

@Allan, yes, that's the thread I had in mind - your OP and the replies turned a lot of gears in our collective heads, and I think it displays the range of participants we have here on the Forum, warts and all. It touched on many of our main concerns as well as our sore spots.

Posted by
10344 posts

The Orsay website states it "displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914."

Posted by
4664 posts

I thought you were trying to say "celebrate" and had a predictive-text issue!

Posted by
1512 posts

It's an important part of the European experience to decide if you want your art 'with gas' or 'no gas' --
maybe that's what RS has in mind when he uses "carbonate".

Posted by
4382 posts

Avi, I've had private messages from two other folks who don't know what "carbonate" means in this context.

Enliven? And some fizz? Help!

Posted by
1512 posts

OK, let me say this about the verb "carbonate":

I just now put it in the search box at the top of the page and it shows that Rick Steves has used the word in more than a dozen of his own blog posts, and it has made it into a handful of tips/articles in the informational bits of the website.

He uses it in his TV shows and radio sessions, and I'm pretty sure I've heard it from him on pledge drives as well.

I think I'm safe in averring that using "carbonate" as a way to enliven or enrich or perk up the direct object in an homage to Rick's style of communication is just as much fair game as it would be to hold your hand on the strap of your civita backpack in order to keep it occupied while talking to the camera. If I could have also bumped my head on the entryway as well, I would've.

[And for you grammar police, I do indeed realize that in an imperative it's actually an indirect object and not a direct object; I'm simplifying for a more general readership.]

Posted by
4382 posts

Thanks, Avi. I wasn't criticizing your use of the term; I just didn't know what it meant. And evidently, I wasn't alone!