Thursday, February 28, 2008

Le Violon d'Ingres

#172 Ice Cream Trio watercolor
Ice Cream Trio, original watercolor, 10" x 12"
Great figurative artist, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, well-known for his passion for playing the violin gave the French language an idiomatic expression, "violon d'Ingres", meaning a hobby or avocation.

My "violon d'Ingres" in Paris, is to go round taking photos of ice cream cones. Don't think for a second the giant pistachio cone lurking behind the cone lineup at ICE TO ICE gelato is for me.

I'm not sure why I love to see these lined up, but I do.Is it about "Great Expectations"! So many cones waiting to be filled at Delizefollie Gelato on rue Montorgueil.I love cone maps too..
Much like with chocolate maps, you suffer attacks of indecision while waiting your turn to choose.
My family used to go ice cream hunting on Sundays when I was a kid. I was the one sent in to "buy" the cones for everybody. Did they think the server would take pity on a 6-year old and give more generous scoops? How come my mother always got to "trim" my cone before I even had one bite?
Here's a "logo" cone from the Paris chain, Amorino.
YUM! An even nicer logo cone from Chanel.
Even if you don't like ice cream, could you pass up this ruby and diamond encrusted cone?
Surrealist photographer Man Ray, was an admirer of the Ingres' paintings and made a series of photographs, inspired by his languorous nudes. As a visual joke/pun he painted on the f-holes of a stringed instrument and named this, "Le Violon d'Ingres". Was it his hobby taking pictures of the model Kiki?
I used to be so obsessed with Ingre's figure drawings, that I took myself off to visit the rather obscure <>Musée Ingres in the small southwestern town of Montauban not once, but two times. Back then they let me sit in the cellar and hold original drawings in my hands. Seventh heaven. So Ingres was my hobbie - my "Violon d'Ingres". I think they have his actual violin there as well.
My "Violon d'Ingres" for the time being is collecting these ridiculous miniatures. If you'd rather make REAL ice cream than collect faux epoxy minis get David Lebovitz's excellent Perfect Scoop. And if you'd like to eat at a very good Parisien bistro do visit Chef Christian Constants' Le Violon d'Ingres
What's your violon d'Ingres?


  1. About ice creams, I just have one word...Bertillon!

  2. Your post today consisted of a cascading crescendo of colorful
    ice cream cones, coming to rest at the feet of Little Bear...quite obviously contemplating the consequences of their consumption.

  3. Yet another brilliant posting.
    They get better and better. Also,
    I love the term violon d'Ingres. I didn't know it.

  4. Nothing says delicious like a double scoop Ice cream cone dripping down the sides while you scramble to lick up every bite.
    My favorite summer time treat.
    Another yummy post.

  5. Hello new friend!
    I am loving your blog and your images of Paris!

  6. Anonymous10:28 AM

    So often the preoccupation with odd things is related to childhood nostalgia don't you think?
    Perhaps you're being sent in to buy the family's ice creams laid the first steps for future Parisien shopping expertise?
    Particularly in the area of sweets?

  7. Anonymous10:42 AM

    My "Violon d'Ingres" every morning is definitely Paris Breakfasts. What a way to start the day.

    I know why your mother trimmed your cone...not realizing it was annoying to her six year old....she
    didn't want it to drip on you. You came from a tidy family.

  8. Yummy. Hmmm. NOW I want ice cream ! Hand dipped pistachio would be great please. Or my favorite, pure french much for high protein. slow carbs....oh no!!!! Violin d'ingres..beautiful term and lovely post...merci encore.
    All best, Jan

  9. this was brilliant! love the chanel cone!

  10. Anonymous3:12 PM

    My secret hobbie is making pancakes. Not 24/7 of course.
    But I passionately enjoy making pancakes when I have a free moment.
    It's my secret. I;ll say no more

  11. scoop from life all the sweetness you can.
    Love Jeanne
    Thanks for all you share.
    Big hugs

  12. Anonymous4:42 PM

    Wow--what a compliment--PB is a violon d'Ingres for Barbara. Now THAT is a compliment, Carol. Can't top that! Wonderful post, as always.

  13. I love to hear about all the odd and unique bits and pieces of life that sing to people. Ice cream doesn't do it for me, but in the food category, I love chopsticks - looking at them, using them, collecting them. Anything tea related too.
    Do you remember the Happy Meal toys that were McDonald food transformers? You'd have to have had kids who bought Happy Meals way back when. I never go to McD's anymore, except under extreme duress, but back when the kids were little... and for some reason I really love those little tranforming milkshakes and hamburgers and cartons of french fries. I've kept them. I have one of the ice cream cones as well. You can find images of them on eBay, if you aren't familiar with them. I also have the sweetest, sparkly ice cream cone ornament - my grandmother made it so it's special to me.
    My latest "le violon d'Ingres" are images of macarons. They make my mouth water just looking at them. I've never eaten one, but I'm returning to Paris in April and plan to rectify that as soon as possible after I arrive.

  14. what a beautiful collection. man ray and gelato. does it get any better?

  15. Anonymous9:02 PM

    I'm afraid my violon d'Ingres is already painfully well-know. Therefore, I will relate a memory of ice cream. It's one of my earliest memories...of my father, who actually did not like sweets (so much for the apple not falling far from the tree!) taking me to Woolworth's to the lunch counter for a treat. I always had a chocolate soda, and Dad always had a pineapple soda. Heaven!

  16. Oh, I've just discovered your delightful blog! I love, love, love Paris. We lived in Brussels for a couple of years and made several trips to Paris. Did I mention how much I loved Paris?

    My violon d'Ingres in Paris was doors. So many wonderful, often colorful, doors.

    I look forward to visiting my favorite city through your blog.

  17. I love the Man Ray pic - did he ever do a cello on a fat lady?

  18. Has Dr. Freud ever written about cream cones? ;-)

    I imagine how Dr. Jung, having taken a brain scan, he sure would have discovered some nano-sized cones dancing on your brain waves, dripping pistacchio ice cream all over!

    The Viennese gelataii artigianali are still in their winter quarters in Italy (all the good artisan ice cream makers here seem to hail from Italy, living like like migrant birds in Vienna only during the warmer months of the year).

  19. Funny enough I will never eat ice cream if it doesn't come in a waffle cone! :)

    In fact, just give me the waffle cone without the ice cream and I'll be quite happy :-D

  20. Anonymous6:03 PM

    Great post! That pin inspires me, but I'm trying not to think about gelato right now!

  21. Anonymous11:07 AM

    You have the loveliest blog. Thank you for taking time to make the world a more beautiful place.

  22. Your artwork wonderful along with your posts. Daily enjoyment opening your email.


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