Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sentinels Through time

Great art and architecture leave their mark on a city like the lines and scars on an old man’s face.  You look at them and wonder, what glories and troubles you must have seen.

So when I visit a city as old and as well known as Paris, I can’t help but be captivated by its longest and sometimes most overlooked witnesses, like the gargoyle on the old well at the Cluny Museum. 

The Cluny is a wonderful museum that most people overlook for the more ambitious collection of the Louvre, or the more fabulous draw of the Champs-Élysées.  But it is a wondrous place, filled with art and artifacts from Paris’ Dark Ages, before it became the City of Lights. 

Severe Gothic statuary, radiant stained glass, and the famed unicorn tapestries are housed in the walls of the historic structure, built during the Middle Ages over the site of ancient Roman baths. 

The Cluny has seen its share of owners and visitors, from Bishops and Abbots, to astronomers, and even royalty, as the temporary home to Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor.  But the most charismatic figure is the gargoyle on the well.  Sitting in the courtyard, weathered and worn by the resolute passing of time, who knows what events, what people, what triumphs and tribulations he has witnessed.  If he could only talk…

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