21. Smile Mona

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Paris, France

I had heard from a couple friends who had seen the Mona Lisa what to expect when I finally found myself in front of the famous portrait. First, they told me that the painting was small. Next they told me that the crowd in front of the Mona Lisa would be absurdly large. Last they told me to get it out of the way early as there is so much more to see in the Louvre. Everything they said was remarkably accurate.

The aura around the Mona Lisa is undeniable. Part of what made the viewing of the painting so memorable was the attitude of everyone around you. People were excited. It was like there was a celebrity in the building. Many people had their smartphones out taking pictures, selfies, videos etc. Fighting my way to the front, I finally was able to appreciate the painting up close. Here’s my thoughts:

Mona Lisa, a painting almost impossible to separate from the hoopla around it. The painting depicts a woman with an expression impossible to capture. I found her expression to be as mystifying as everyone says. Its not a smile, its not a frown, its not really a half smile either. Its almost as if the painting invites the cultural sensation it has created. The woman is in a way mocking, seducing, and shunning all who gaze at her. Its a remarkable depiction of human emotion.

Ironically enough, directly opposite the Mona Lisa the curators of the Louvre decided to be extra sassy and put a gigantic painting depicting Christ seated at a table with all sorts of apostles, saints and angels around him. What I loved about this was not the obvious difference in size but that the Mona Lisa and Christ are staring directly at each other. It feels poetic in a way. Here we have probably the two figures that have created the greatest sensation around them in their respective fields. What I mean by this is that Christ has inspired the greatest number of religious followers and the Mona Lisa is probably the most well known painting ever. Christ and the Mona Lisa by staring at each other are in a way calling each other out. Who can inspire more, the heavens or humanity?

Photo taken on: March 24th, 10:39 AM

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