Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oct 16, Part 13 - Paris: The Louvre, Looking for Mona Lisa

As I said in an earlier post, when I got tired from walking long distances and standing, I began to see and appreciate the richly decorated rooms in the Louvre almost as much as the art collection. Each room had its own decor and theme to go with the art it displayed.

I love the floors and columns here.

We were on a mission to find Mona, and since she's the most sought-out exhibit, the powers that be gave us a little help.

More beautiful celings, friezes, and arches.

We passed a few Botticelli murals. I really like his work. I wonder if she knows she's holding a scorpion? There must be story here, somewhere.

And yet more ceilings and friezes. Are we still en route to the Mona Lisa?

I love this floor. Old, worn hardwood with black stars in it.

I also really love this bottom painting with portraits of prominent Florentines of the Renaissance. In the large version of the photo, I could see the print giving their names from the left as Giotto, Uccello, Donatello, Manetti, Brunelleschi. The painting is by Uccello. I like the simplicity and the sense that these are some of the real people that created that amazing time.

A candid portrait.

I'm trying not to put in so many shots of the same thing, but like the portrait above as well as this corridor photo of people studying Renaissance paintings in the Louvre, or at least looking at them, perhaps with eyes so full that they no longer comprehend much of what they're seeing. It's not too difficult to reach overload.

Well, here we are, and everyone wakes up. That's Lee looking at the Mona Lisa - finally - after many days of wondering what she'd be like. It had been quite a number of years since he'd seen the famous painting. This photo was taken in October. I don't want to imagine what the room looks like in high tourist season.

And . . . here she is. I don't know what to say about a person who thinks the Mona Lisa is a "nice" painting, but that's how I feel. I can think of many others that I find more exciting and memorable, even after attending a slide lecture by a many who has had a lifetime fascination with this work and who has spent thousands of dollars and technical hours to find and bring out her true coloring and some of the secrets hidden in the painting, such as how Leonardo changed the dress and positioning from the original. That was interesting, but it didn't make Mona my favorite painting. So I was a revelation to me when, after studying her for a short time, Lee commented that he now understood what the big deal was. This was simply the most satisfying painting he'd ever laid eyes on. It was complete. He couldn't want anything else. Well, maybe there's something to that. It gave me new respect for the lady.

A nice clear view (and photo) of Mona is not always easy to get. More often the view looks like this (above) . . .

Or like this . . . (FLASH!)

And this is what Mona sees looking back from her canvas.

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