Predictably, there was a crowd in front of the Mona Lisa. Unpredictably, the crowd parted as people gave up on getting closer to the famed portrait and left the crowd. Being the opportunist that I am, I slipped through the openings in the crowd and only had to wait for the family in the front row before I got to see the Mona Lisa front and center. Her face was full of fine-lined cracks and colors were solemnly subdued. What secrets did she hold, that every tourist would make a pilgrimage to her portrait while visiting the Louvre? The word “touristy” has become a clichéd trap that immediately makes something seem boring and a waste of time and money. It’s sad because a lot of these things have an understated beauty about them. The Mona Lisa is the most “well known” painting in the world, but not many have bothered to look into why she’s so well known (she was kidnapped) and why it’s such a great painting.
Turn around from the Mona Lisa, and you see The Wedding Feast at Cana, only it’s not a 900 x 500 pixel image; it’s the size of the wall. In fact, with its 70 m² surface, it wouldn’t even fit in my room. What I want to know is, how on earth did they get this painting into the museum? It obviously wouldn’t fit through a normal sized door. I suppose that the hallways have just as high ceilings as the rooms, but I can’t remember if the doorways to the palace building had large entryways as well.
Even those who don’t particularly like galleries might find the Louvre a fascinating place. The Louvre isn’t limited to one genre of artwork, you’ll find paintings on all sorts of subjects; not just religious ones. Personally, I loved seeing this last painting of the Rialto bridge in Venice by Canaletto. I was scheduled to go to Venice in the upcoming week so I was delighted to see a preview! While there is no way to see all of the paintings that are in the Louvre, I did my best to get the most out of my experience. I set my internal GPS to the highlights I wanted to see and briskly walked through the museum. If anything caught my eye along the way, I would stop to have a closer look and let the impressions wash over me. I took photos of the artworks that I wanted to look up later, as there wasn’t much time to spend looking things up while I was there. The beauty of photographs is that they bring back so many memories that are otherwise lost. I know that I was at the Guggenheim when I visited New York ten years ago, but I can’t even remember what I saw there. This time around, I have these keepsakes to transport me there.
Your turn ♥ What’s your secret for appreciating art in museums and galleries?