January 22, 2015

An intriguing invitation

Just before Christmas we received a wonderful invitation from the Italian Ambassador to attend a performance by the Solisti Veneti, a small, world class Italian chamber orchestra with modern instruments. Not only did we enjoy an upbeat concert of the ensemble that has won numerous awards including a Grammy and a Grand Prix du Disque, we also got a glimpse of the magnificent Grand Amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne. True to the Sorbonne’s enduring reputation as a centre of studies and intellectual activities, the Grand Amphitheatre is a spectacular venue and a perfect setting to ring out the six-month Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Do you know which National government holds the incumbent presidency of the Council of the European Union?

Monsieur et Madame L'Ambassadeur d'Italie request our presence

Towering above the podium is Le Bois Sacré by Puvis de Chavannes, the most famous mounted canvas in the Sorbonne, evoking the living symbols of Literature, Science and the Arts gathered around the Sorbonne.

In six niches there are statues of Robert de Sorbon by Crauck, Descartes by Coutan, Lavoisier by Dalou, Rollin by Chaplain, Pascal by Barrias and Richelieu by Lanson.

In the dome there are five large monochrome medallions by Galland depicting Law, Medicine, Science, Arts and Theology, i.e. the five faculties which constituted the University of Paris in 1889.

Inaugurated on August 5, 1889, 
the Grand Amphitheatre has been listed as a historic building since 1975.

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