The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PARIS, Wednesday—The Soviet Union moved immediately Monday on the question of the right of the Chinese Nationalists to sit even though the session only met in the afternoon to adjourn the Fifth General Assembly which had never been adjourned.

The Russians lost on their resolution. Then there was a minute of silent prayer and meditation during which one wonders a little what the Soviet delegates actually do during this brief interlude. If you have no religion I suppose during that moment of silent prayer you try to urge upon yourself such attitudes of mind as may help you to greater efficiency.

I was able to spend an hour in the Louvre the other day, the first time in a good many years, so I decided to go in up the stairs that lead past the statue of the "Victoire de Samothrace". Standing on the prow of a ship, this figure of a woman is one of the most commanding and beautiful imaginable. You can almost feel the wind blowing around her and the spread of the wings is an inspiring sight.

We walked slowly through the rooms with the early Italian paintings, stopping to look at some of the lovely Madonnas and being intrigued and amused by the Mona Lisa smile.

Seeing these pictures again after so many years made me want to go back to Florence and Rome and see some of the others that I have not seen for an even longer time.

The part I really like the most about some of the early Italians, such as Fra Filippo Lippi is the little formal landscapes that form the background of the pictures. The flowers stick up like little spikes and sometimes the human figures are bigger than the background, but there is a charm in those landscapes that always holds me enthralled.

What masters of color they were! Somehow we never use gold or blue or red in modern paintings as well as they did in those early days. Perhaps as they painted largely for churches there was a sense of dedication to the service of the Lord and the secret of some of their success may lie in that dedication to the spiritual as well as to the art.

I doubt if any of those early artists were really paid for the work they did. I think most of them worked for the love of the art. You look at some of the early Gothic churches, such as the one in Senlis, which was badly damaged by the war, and you wonder how long it took a man to carve one of the figures around the door.

Old friends of my husband, Admiral and Madame Fenard came to see me late Monday afternoon, and so did President Edward James Sparling of Roosevelt College in Chicago. President Sparling attended the peace conference in Zagreb and his report on it was encouraging. He felt that the resolutions were, on the whole, helpful.

We were fortunate to find Ambassador and Mrs. Warren Austin alone at dinner and they kindly asked us to join them. We had a delightful dinner, after which Mr. Tom Campbell of Montana and New Mexico telephoned and came up to talk to us. I had not seen him since three years ago in Paris when he was going to North Africa for the French government to consult about growing wheat. Now he is back to consult with our Army on tractors.

It is always a pleasure to see Mr. Campbell. He is an old friend, but age seems to bring him more enthusiasm and more bouyancy. One always has the feeling that his mind runs to big things and it is fun just hearing him talk about them.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Paris (France) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 8, 1951

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.