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Beneath the Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower from the Seine

Paris, France

 When Gustave Eiffel’s company built Paris’ most recognizable monument for the 1889 World’s Fair, many Parisians regarded the massive iron structure with skepticism.

The art community was more absolute in their opinion.  They hated it!  A petition called "Artists against the Eiffel Tower" was sent to the Minister of Works.  In part it read, “We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection … of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower… and all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream.”   

 If I were alive at that time, I doubt I would have signed the petition, but as I stand beside the south pillar of the tower looking up at thousands of mustard brown rivets, I can see their point.  

 Not often have I encountered something that produced such juxtaposed impressions when viewed from both near and far.  From distance, the graceful curve of the tower looks like a Matisse pencil stroke in the sky.  And next to the tower, it reminds me of a vertical railroad bridge.  This makes sense as Eiffel was an accomplished bridge builder, and walking under the massive structure this fact is quite evident in his design. 

 So, it was with this contradiction in impressions that I contemplated my re-interpretation of Gustave’s iconic work of art.  In the end, the distant view, showcasing her soft, distinctive curves won out.

 Whether you’re a fan of structural engineering or a lover of perfect, artist lines, Paris’ iconic tower is a sight to be seen.

 Email me if you are planning a trip and I will send you a few of my  favorite things to do in Paris.

 ~Christopher