Rick Bass has a lovely little piece on touring the Louvre in the current issue of Ecotone. He describes the sheer exhaustion and awe of seeing everything—or anything—in the great museum. Here’s a snippet from his observations:
Crawling through time like that, emptying from one chamber into the next, seeing hundreds and then thousands of paintings at once, was a little like moving through the chambers of the human brain and watching its artistic process, the rhythms toward and yearnings for beauty. All the celebrations and lamentations unfolded: as if, again, it was not the hands of artists doing the work as much as some overriding impulse—some spirit or instinct that was traveling for a while through their fevered minds. In such a vast collection, you can begin, as never before, to hear the larger reverberations of collected voices, collected glories, all powered by something more substantial than any one artist’s puny heart.