Dealing with visual overload

The Louvre is one of the the worlds greatest museums holding collections from Egyptian, Greek , Roman, Near-East antiquities, European Renaissance Art, Medieval Art, prints, paintings and so much more. As a visitor you are trying to make sense of an aesthetic experience while huge crowds wash all around you. At the same time you need to take precautions and be aware of pick pockets.

For this visit we decided that we wanted to see the decorative arts section as our last visit 2 years ago, only introduced us to this part of the museum. I had my sketchbook and Jerry his camera and we headed  for the Napoleon Apartments.

When I entered the rooms I was assaulted by heavy decoration of ornate gilded gold patterns. I had seen photographs of this type of interior decoration and I had always felt it was too much, too over the top to be attractive but when I saw these rooms I realised that in context, the lot does hold together and work. I think they are one of those things that dont photograph well!

Anyway there I was dealing with visual overload in a crowded museum. What to do as I wanted something for my journal. I looked, and looked at all sorts of objects and details of objects. Part of keeping a visual journal is what you include and what you exclude. Coming to the decision meant I looked a lot more at those rooms than if I was just visiting. As I agonised over what to draw I saw people come in take a snap shot with their phones and move on. I wondered how much they saw.

Sketch at the Louvre

In the end I decided to focus on a detail I saw on a door frame. It is a design that many people will recognise but as I drew it I realised I had not drawn it before. I sketched it and added colour that evening back at the apartment.

sketchbook louvreThis what the finished page spread in my travel journal looks like. As you can see I added ephemera to the page such as the ticket stubs, part of a flyer advertising the museum and I chopped up the floor plan to include a map of the area we explored on the day.

Anyone who has visited the Louvre will tell you there is no way to see everything. We plan on making 3-4 visits this trip and I am sure we will barely see the collection.


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3 Responses to Dealing with visual overload

  1. Anneliese says:

    Hi Sharon, you are so near now and DH says you should visit us, in Karlsruhe, or in our house in the Haute-Saône, where we will be next week to go on renovating or even in the Vosges, in Saulxures-sur-Moselotte in our farmhouse which can be heated and the region is most wonderful…..

  2. Annet says:

    It’s nice to read the story of both of you from the same visit. Jerry takes great photo’s! Love the detail in your drawing, it could be a nice embroidered border.

  3. Lisa Ridolfi says:

    Sharon, having followed you since your first blogging days and taken two of your online classes, I am so enjoying this blog and your journey back to drawing. Your work is wonderful. I know how hard it is to draw in a crowded situation. Bravo!

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