Travel Article #2
BY LUCY BERRY | PUBLISHED September 17, 2021
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest museum and a historic monument in Paris. The remarkable property resides on the Seine River’s Right Bank. The location is the city’s first arrondissement, which is a subdivision of a French department for the local government administration.
One of the featured pieces is Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, the Mona Lisa. Sealed and protected behind a bulletproof case, the enchanting art remains in prime condition after over five hundred years. Visitors can find the beautiful woman in the Louvre’s largest room along with Veronese’s painting, The Wedding Feast at Cana. I highly recommend spending a few hours gazing at the legendary artists.
Before the building became a museum, it was a fortress (military stronghold), built in 1190 then reconstructed in the sixteenth century to a glorious royal palace. For two centuries, the Louvre remained a royal palace before becoming a museum in 1793, gaining a collection of five hundred thirty-seven paintings. The opening was short-lived as it closed in 1796 due to structural problems. Five years later, Napoleon reopened the museum and expanded the collection by thousands of donated artworks from all over the world. He renamed the museum after himself after setting the foundation for the Louvre’s presence in the art community. For over ten years, Napoleon made a difference in the museum’s future, but it didn’t last. After almost five thousand artworks were returned to their countries after Napoleon was stripped of his powers with the Treaty of Fontainebleau, the Louvre reverted back to its original name. The collection continued to expand and flourish into the Louvre that we know and love today.
The painting’s reputation holds true. The piece took sixteen years to complete and spans generations of art education. In 1911, The Mona Lisa acquired a set of guards after being stolen from the museum and not recovered until 1913, when a former employee tried to sell the beloved piece. Since 1913, the famous lady has been kept in a bulletproof glass case to keep anyone from snatching the gem again.
The glass is illuminated by its own LED lamp. A wooden railing protects the case from fingerprints. Held by an oak frame, the woman is magnificent and enchanting. She looks into the distance, almost feeling like she is staring at the audience, pulling them into her surroundings. The backdrop is faded, a mountain view with rolling hills, ridged canyons, and forest pines against a blue and yellow sky. From the distant look in her eyes to the wrinkles in her sleeves, Leonardo made her lifelike. She resembles a brave and gentle wealthy girl searching for more in this world. A woman with the world at her fingertips and a wonder of the world.
Although the Louvre has far more to offer visitors than just the Mona Lisa, I highly recommend spending a portion of your visit studying Leonardo’s masterpiece. I believe that art can speak to us more than we give it credit for, so embrace the unknown and learn more about what makes this painting famous.