The Way Inside

by Lindsay Shapka in

Ornate Door into a Walled Garden             Shanghai, China

I have always been fascinated by doors. The are the way into hidden spaces and secret places, and seem to have a personality all their own. Whether they lead into a house, a palace, a garden, or an art gallery, I find the unique materials, designs and colours to be incredibly intriguing. I often take photos of doors wherever I travel, and they often evoke memories of place and culture more than a photo of a tourist site ever would. 

Hands at the Hotel Biron

by Lindsay Shapka in

Auguste Rodin             Paris, France (Photo taken on 35mm film)

Today marks the birthday of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) a French sculptur who — in his lifetime — was considered to be one of France's most controversial artists. Though shocking for his time, he is now almost universally acknowledged as the father of modern sculpture.

This stunning piece is located in the elegant 18th-century Hotel Biron, where Rodin lived and worked at the end of his life, and where some of his most impressive works are now kept. His sculpture, perfectly preserved antiques, and paintings by the likes of Renoir, Munch, and Van Gogh fill the crisp white rooms of the hotel. 

Outside, an expansive manicured garden is the home of his most well-known work: Le Penseur (The Thinker).

Considered by Parisians to be one of THE BEST museums in Paris, this beautiful collection of work is well-worth stepping off the beaten-path to visit.

A Glow From Above

by Lindsay Shapka in

The Pantheon Ceiling            Rome, Italy

The interior dome of the massive Pantheon in Rome is a staggering 143 feet in diameter, and has patterns cut into it that may have once contained gilded bronze rosettes or stars to mimic the night sky. The central opening, called an oculus, is 29 feet wide and lets the elements fall through to the marble floor below. Small holes in the floor, placed there by the original engineer, drain any water that falls. What most visitors don’t know is that there were once gilded bronze roof tiles inset into the remarkable ceiling. 

Unfortunately, they were looted and removed by an emperor from the Eastern/Byzantine Empire around 500CE and in the 17th century Pope Urban VIII had them melted down. He then gave some of the bronze to Bernini who created the baldaccino (canopy), that can be currently seen over the main alter in St Peter’s cathedral, and used the rest to have 80 cannons for Castel Sant’Angelo made.