The Louvre Less Traveled

27louvre-sciolino-custom1-v2 Elaine Sciolino in the NYT:

[O]ver the years, I’ve come up with my own Louvre must-see list from the museum’s permanent collection of 35,000 paintings, sculptures, furnishings and objects. And I am always on the lookout for more hidden treasures, an exercise made easier with the publication two weeks ago of “Louvre: Secret et Insolite” (Louvre: Secret and Unusual) by Louvre Editions/Parigramme. People who don’t speak French need not shy away: the 119 works of art are illustrated with color photos.

Who knew that the right hand of Winged Victory sits in a protective glass case to the left of the massive sculpture? The marble statue itself was discovered in more than 100 pieces in 1863, but the hand, which is powerful despite its three missing fingers, was dug up only in 1950. (The tip of her ring finger and her thumb turned up in a storage drawer in a museum in Vienna.)

And what about Michelangelo’s two marble nude Slaves, commissioned as part of a grand tomb for Pope Julius II, and not quite finished? The Dying Slave is beautiful, smooth-skinned and young, his elbow raised, his left wrist strapped to the back of his neck; he seems to be in a deep slumber rather than on the verge of death. The Rebellious Slave is heavier, rougher and tormented. They exude such raw eroticism, you feel as if you should turn away.