Thursday, October 31, 2013

STILL LIFE

The human condition along with death, mortality, vanities and repentance are ripe for contemplation when seated in a prie-Dieu atop one of the some 375 magnificent inlaid marble tombs which make up the flooring of one of the world's greatest cathedrals, St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valetta, Malta. Built in the 16th century by the knights of the Ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, the high Baroque cathedral was commissioned by a French chevalier and Grand Master, Jean L'Evesque de la Cassière. 

Vocabulary
un chevalier de Malte:  a knight of Malta
un soldat pontifical: a papal soldier
inévitable: unavoidable
un prie-Dieu:  a low chair from which one kneels to pray
s'agenouiller:  to kneel down




©2013 P.B. Lecron

Sunday, October 6, 2013

THE FRENCH KNOW-HOW

Not to miss: an exceptional and luxurious paravent in lacquerware dating to 1932 realized by Louis Midavaine (1888-1978), founder of the internationally renowned Atelier Midavaine dynasty. The paravent with two polar bears on an ice field with a third swimming, is on display in the decorative art halls at the Palais de Tokyo. The Atelier Midavaine bears the designation of Entreprise de Patrimoine Vivant, a national award for excellence of French know-how. Curiously, Louis Midavaine first learned the Asian lacquer technique while being held prisoner during WWI, the Germans having called upon Chinese artisans to lacquer the wooden propellers of their fighter planes.

The Palais de Tokyo, which houses the city of Paris' Museum of Modern Art, today has also become a major venue of contemporary art. The building overlooks the Seine at 13 avenue du President Wilson and is one of three remaining permanent structures built for the 1937 International Exposition in Paris.

Vocabulary
un ours polaire:  a polar bear
une banquise:  an ice field
une laque:  a lacquerware object
un paravent:  a folding screen

©2013 P.B. Lecron

Thursday, October 3, 2013

BEACH THERAPY

Iodine rich air
A gray day on the beach at Berck-sur-Mer, reputed to have the saltiest sea air in the Pas-de-Calais. The French set great store by the benefits of l'air marin. It's worth noting that one of France's leading orthopedic surgery and physical therapy centers, a part of the Fondation Hopale medical group, sits just opposite the view above on prime ocean-front property. In fine weather patients accompanied  by family or friends take promenades on the long stretch of sea wall. 
The same stretch of beach on a sunny day.
Vocabulary
l'iode:  iodine
la kinésithérapie:  physical therapy
un/une kinésithérapeute:  a physical therapist

©2013 P.B. Lecron