Not Your Average Paint by Number, It was the Mona Lisa

It is no secret how I feel about Art. Great works of Art move me like no other. When I had the opportunity to stand in the presence of greatness, I JUMPED at the chance!

When my merry band of Muppets and myself were in Paris, we had ONE day. ONE DAY! I know people who had FIVE days and did not see everything that Paris has to offer. I had to think and plan very carefully about what was important to me. I polled the Muppets, and asked what was important to them. To Genetic Offspring, the architecture of Paris was key. The Eiffel Tower was such an important piece for him. The structure itself helped change the way bridges around the world were made. So Eiffel Tower – CHECK! Chatter Box was DYING to shop. Clearly she has my sister’s Shopping Gene. CHECK! Honey was excited to see PARIS! Check! The rest of the crew were happy to see what Paris had to offer so off we went!

After Notre Dame, we walked along the Seine to the Louvre. Just so you know, it isn’t all that close. Google Maps said it was less then 2Km. We didn’t follow THAT route, not us! We went the long way. The long way included the views of the Seine which were gorgeous.

When we arrived, my mom and I made arrangements to split the group. Those who did not wish to see the Louvre left for an afternoon of lunch and shops and would meet on the bridge covered in locks in TWO HOURS. My offspring did not have a choice. I imposed a ban on free choice. We were IN PARIS standing in front of THE LOUVRE. Leonardo De Vinci and Michelangelo had some of their pieces in that building! Although the Offspring may not appreciate it today, I knew years down the road they could say “I stood in front of the Mona Lisa and looked upon her with my own eyes”.

Two Hours, okay I could do it. I needed a plan and I needed to stay focused. Honey and I decided to stick to the Denon wing. That is where Mona hangs out. She is famous enough that my offspring knew who she was. We entered through the side through Cour Carree. It seemed like miles before we saw it. Through the arch way we saw the glass pyramid, the entrance. Famous in it’s own right but for those of you who saw The DaVinci Code, you could recognize it immediately. This thrilled Chatterbox because Tom Hanks was there! YAY Tom Hanks! He was Woody in Toy Story 1,2 &3! Already the Louvre was making connections with my offspring. We stood in the endless line out side, gazing at the architecture of the old palace where one of the Louis lived. Once we went through security, just like the airport, we were in! Down the long escalator into the crowds of tourists all wanting to visit Mona, just like us.

I grabbed a map, and off we went. Ten minutes into our visit, it became clear to me I needed a more detailed game plan. I made a list of the works of art that were MUST SEES for me, I told Genetic Offspring and handed him the map. He studied it for about five minutes. Then folded it carefully and put it in his pocket. “Follow me” he replied with tremendous confidence. Of course we followed, I couldn’t let him get lost!

He led us to several Leonardo pieces including Mona Lisa, Captive by Michelangelo, The Winged Victory of Samothrace, The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon, Psyche and Cupid by Canova and Colossal Statue of Ramesses II. Of course we saw more along the way and wings were closed which made navigating difficult, but Genetic Offspring sees the map in ways others don’t. He knew how to get around unscheduled changes and find uncrowded secret pathways.

The most significant moment for me was to be able to stand before La Vierge a l’Enfant avec Sainte Anne by Leonardo De Vinci. I was 1 foot away. I could reach out and touch it if I wanted to be arrested. I stood in the SAME place the Master himself did as he skillfully maneuvered his brush and manipulated the paint. I could feel the emotion of the painting and witnessed the depth in the background. It was clear to me he was a genius. I witnessed it with my own eyes. His contemporaries all had halos around their subjects. De Vinci painted with knowledge and conviction. He painted for himself and not what others thought he should paint. This is what brought out the emotion and passion. I must admit, I cried.

The Mona Lisa was beautiful, but being famous doesn’t make you the best. She was under glass a surrounded by a million people. I could not feel the same emotion I experienced with Sainte Anne. I was stunned by the volume of people. I am pretty sure it was the same number as the entire population of Canada.

From there we travelled the rest of the Denon Salon, and saw other great works on canvas and stone. None moved me like Sainte Anne.

All of this and more in 2 hours.


17 thoughts on “Not Your Average Paint by Number, It was the Mona Lisa

  1. WHAT?!?!??!?!
    NOO! I dragged you to Notre Dame! Yes I did wanna shop… but I wanted to go were hunch-my-back lives!!!!
    ahh the impression disney has on me… 😀

  2. Two hours in the Louvre would be like watching the first twenty minutes of Lord Of The Rings. Not nearly enough time! But I’m impressed with the way you made the most of it. I’d have gone straight for the Mona Lisa, too. Nice pics and a great recap of your museum visit!

  3. When I visited Italy, I had ONE day in Rome! You know the saying, “Rome was not built in a day”? Well, it was visited in one! I have never been so tired as the day we traipsed to the Vatican and back (of course, taking the long route). And Tom Hanks was there, too!

    1. I think I need to plan a trip called “Where in the World was Tom Hanks?” And do all those cities in one day! Wait…I am tired just thinking about it 😉

      I loved Rome. I saw ( in one day lol) St Peter’s through a key hole up on a hill. I was 10 and that made the biggest impact on me. The keyhole view and the Colosseum 🙂 OH and their version of Pizza!

      1. I LOVED their thicker pizza! It was the first thing I did after getting off the train. We did the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, that big honkin’ Castle of the Angels, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Coloseum, and the Roman Circus…and it WAS a circus!

  4. What a joy to experience all those masterpieces … I can imagine how it all made you feel.
    Looks like you had a whole lot of crowd to navigate your way through – well played, genetic offspring!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, ET!
    Sunshine xx

  5. I walked the halls with you and enjoyed the art, thanks for the tour (guide).

    One day my kids and I experienced Niagara Falls in 5 minutes….it was still better than no minutes. Life is full of adventure if you take advantage of every minute you have!

    1. Thanks for coming with me! I would never trade those 2 hours for anything! It was completely worth it to me. I got to spend 5 minutes at Niagara Falls while my uncle drove around looking for a parking spot. I was 9. I remember the sound of the thunderous water and was amazed that someone would travel that in a barrel! You are correct, 5 minutes was better then no minutes! My memories have lasted a lifetime 🙂

  6. I changed email addresses on my blog and it seemed to chaneg everything… i never got the email of yoru latest post, and wondered what had happened. All figured now…..
    Loved your post- perhaps Paris must go onto my bucket list?
    Were you really allowed to take photos?

    1. No Flash Photography Please! And only in permanent collection rooms. You mustn’t run, smoke, yell like a banshee or yap on your cell phone,eat or drink and PLEASE do not touch the works of art. There was also a symbol of a suitcase with a red line through it. What does that mean? No traveling? No borrowing art?
      Put Paris on the list! I still can’t believe you lived in London for a year and didn’t go anywhere! If you come to Canada, the Rockies are a must!

  7. Oh, this looks so fun! You are so fortunate to have seen such interesting things… not many people get that experience. I saw some of this when I was a child and living in Europe but I hardly remember any of it! Definitely want to go again as an adult!

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