I wandered around the Luxembourg gardens today. I think they were built by the Medici Family, but they are like luxurious Roman gardens from ancient times, complete with classical sculpture and fountains.
There is also the Musee de Luxembourg, a grand museum inside the gardens, which happens to have an amazing exhibit up right now: " Lucas Cranach et Son Temps" (Lucas Cranach and his time).
It was a comprehensive exhibition of the life and works of Lucas Cranach, the man who ushered in the Northern European Renaissance when he became the Court painter of Wittenburg (then an Austrian enclave of the Holy Roman Empire).
He was also close friends with Martin Luther and played a crucial role in propagating the ideals of the Protestant reformation.
His paintings have a beautiful strangeness to them - the golden figures in his paintings emerge out of dark, lush jewel-toned landscapes. The serpentining rhythms and shapes give his work a certain sensuality - and ironically the same paintings contain in them a warning against the passions they seek to ignite.
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