"Those eyes follow you around the room..." Louvre Tip by sourbugger

Louvre, Paris: 796 reviews and 1,585 photos


If ever the world's most famous painting came up for sale (which I'm sure it never would) it is conservatively estimated that it would top 300 million pounds (over 600 million dollars)

This is somewhat surprising as the painting was not particularly well known until the mid- nineteenth century. The fact it once hung in Napoleon's bedroom may have something to do with that. Indeed would could speculate that the Mona Lisa's latent sexuality in her smile may have something to do with the immortal phrase "not tonight, Josephine". And I've always had my suspicions about why he is always pictured with his hand inside his jacket.

Anyway, despite these rather dodgy meanderings, it remains one of the "Must see's" of world culture. It now has a new home within the Louvre, protected by sheets of bullet proof glass. Despite all the hype, I must confessed that I have always found it slightly dissappointing as a painting, not helped by the fact that it normally viewed from behind the heads of several dozen Japansese tourists. It is, after all, just a portrait of a rich merchant's wife

A scientific anaylsis suggests that the picture has such an effect on some because it triggers the senses used in perpherial vision, but close up it appears very different. The eyes and smile seem to follow you around the room : until you are right in front of it - then the smile vanishes.

I suppose that's a bit like when you enter a room with a party going on. Your peripheral vision alerts you to the presence of a blonde in a tartan mini-skirt, but when you actually get up close she turns out to be a right old haddock - and probably called Lisa.

Address: Louvre
Directions: Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre
Phone: +33 1 40 20 50 50
Website: http://www.louvre.fr

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2006
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