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Last updated 2019-07-03
Heaven, Paris Branch, Room 75, by artist Russell Spencer
Heaven, Paris Branch, Room 75, 2014-03-10
By Russell Spencer
Acrylic on Canvas, 1020 x 762 mm
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Sydney Smith, whoever he was, said that his idea of heaven was "eating pate de foie gras to the sound of trumpets". My idea of heaven is wandering about in Art Museums, hence the title for this view of room 75 on the first floor of the Denon wing of the Louvre Museum in Paris. The paintings here are all early 19th Century French. The three smaller portraits behind the two seated girls are a lush set of the Riviere family by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres - Monsieur on the left, Madame on the right, Mademoiselle in the middle. The large picture at top right is a portion of The Apotheosis of Homer, a more ambitious effort by Ingres, which I loved copying despite its being rather stiff and worthy. The woman lounging about beneath the top-left picture is my favourite painting in the Louvre, Madame Recamier by Ingres' master Jacques-Louis David, who thought his pupil showed a "tendency toward exaggeration".

If they let you take photos in London's National Gallery then I may have painted that instead, as I found that even more heavenly. But I'm glad I painted the Louvre because when I was a kid my Dad told me that the Louvre made him "proud to be a human being".