“Okay, everyone got their maps?” Lana asked, looking around the group of five – yes, Izzy had actually agreed to absorb some culture in lieu of alcohol providing she could go shopping after lunch. Her own hangover was manageable, and Lana was determined they all make the best of their day at the Louvre. “What do you say we meet back here at noon and go for some lunch?”
“How did we end up on this tour, again?” Sarah muttered to Daniel, who was busy folding his map into as small a piece as possible. She missed the glare Sebastian was shooting their way.
“There’s another group right over there,” Sebastian said in a stage whisper while Lana and Izzy were busy checking the map. He couldn’t wait for the two crashers to leave.
“Never mind her,” Daniel said jovially, “she just didn’t get enough coffee this morning.” Sarah glared at him but didn’t say anything. “I’m gonna go see what Lana has planned,” he excused himself, leaving Sebastian with Sarah.
“He’s all smitten with Miss Tour Guide,” Sarah huffed. “And I get dragged along.”
“Wanna break off and do our own tour?” Sebastian asked, looking over to where Daniel was hovering over Lana. If he had to look at Surfer Boy drooling all over his best friend another minute, he might need a shot of absinth well before lunch.
“Sure, why not?” Sarah shrugged and they slipped away without goodbyes.
Lana looked up briefly to see Sebastian and Sarah heading towards one of the escalators up to the Denon wing. She felt a little pang in her heart as she realized Sebastian hadn’t even bothered to say goodbye to her. He must still be annoyed with her.
Thankfully, Daniel’s voice broke through her thoughts and brought a smile to her face. “So what’s our first stop?”
Izzy found her way to an overpriced café soon enough, leaving Daniel and Lana to explore the French sculptures themselves.
“Did you know how the statue of Vertumnus and Pomona is said to be an homage in disguise to Louis XV and Mme de Pompadour?” Daniel asked as they stopped in front of one of the sculptures in Cour Puget.
“No,” Lana shook her head.
“In fact, several of the sculptures in this part of the courtyard are representations of Mme Pompadour, the king’s mistress turned lifelong friend. She was a great patron of the arts and influenced him to spend large sums in support of artists,” Daniel continued.
“How do you know this?” Lana asked, surprised.
“I’ve dabbled in art history,” Daniel shrugged.
“Dabbled? How do you ‘dabble’ in art history?”
“Took a class or two at college. It was fun. Lots of scandals hiding behind marble and stone veneers.”
“I guess few things are what they seem on the outside,” Lana mused.
“Come on, I want to show you something,” Daniel nodded towards the staircase, bringing them up to another landing with multiple statues, and continued into the hall to the left.
“I thought you hadn’t been here before,” Lana said, puzzled, as he walked straight over to a small marble statue depicting Cupid.
“I haven’t,” he replied. “I looked it up on the internet, though. Do you see the butterfly and the rose?” he pointed to the relief in the stone, an amazing attention to detail by the sculptor.
“Beautiful,” Lana commented, waiting for Daniel to tell the story he was clearly working up to.
“The butterfly represents the soul and the rose love. It was Cupid’s job to capture souls and bend them to his will – make them fall in love. But if you look down at the bas-relief, it tells the story of souls imprisoned by Cupid, and how the butterflies are finally set free,” Daniel pointed to the base of the sculpture, a story told on the edges around it.