(The following is an excerpt from Hand Crafted Walks in Paris, which includes a self-guided tour of the Louvre. Self-guided walks like this are included in many of the trips that we arrange for our clients. When you are ready to travel to again, Hand Crafted Travel can help you organize your trip, including hotels, restaurants, transportation, and skip-the-line tickets for most major sights. It's the stress-free way to get the most out of your European trip.)
Don’t be disappointed by Mona. She’s smaller and less dramatic than many people expect. So why is Mona so famous? Part of Mona Lisa's popularity lies in the fact that it's a painting by Leonardo da Vinci – a surprisingly rare thing.
Da Vinci's popularity, and the desire to see his works surged after the publication of The Da Vinci Code, but Mona Lisa was popular long before the imagined intrigues of Dan Brown. Mona has a mystery all her own – she was stolen in 1911, an event that put the painting in newspaper headlines around the world, and made her a household name. Putting these events aside, Mona Lisa deserves to be seen on her own terms.
Leonardo was an artist very much into subtleties.
Even Michelangelo’s David stands aloof and separate from us. We contemplate it and enjoy it, and are thrilled by it, but we only communicate with it vicariously. It’s a one-way conversation. Leonardo’s concentration on the psychology of the figures in his paintings, and communicating them to us, the viewers, was an enormous breakthrough, a revolution that intensified in the Baroque period. Leonardo brought us into the picture.
The Local reports that work on Paris' fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral will restart on Monday.
Mona Lisa recently took up residence in a new home. She didn't go far, though, moving just about 100 feet from the Salle des États to the Galerie Médicis, both located in Paris's Louvre Museum. The Salle des États, where the painting has been on display for more than 14 years, is undergoing renovation. As soon as work is completed, probably in October, Mona will return to her former spot.
Rail services in northern Paris will grind to a halt Sunday, February 17, but for once it's not due to transportation unions going on strike. A World War Two-era bomb was discovered in the Porte de la Chapelle area earlier this month. After failing to defuse the bomb, the bomb squad has decided they will need to blow up the bomb. Affected services will include the Eurostar trains between Paris and London.
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