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Mona Lisa

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The Louvre is well known as the home of the most famous piece in art history — Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, also known in French as La Joconde (the light-hearted woman).

If you’re in the Louvre and wish to see her, I suggest that you go and see her first before you get yourself lost in the labyrinthine halls of this huge museum.

The Mona Lisa is currently located in Room 13 on the first floor of the Denon wing, together with other paintings by the Italian masters from the 17th and 18th centuries. Click on this link on the Louvre’s official website to see an interactive floor plan of the famous museum and find out where exactly the Mona Lisa is located.

And when you are at the Louvre yourself, please ask one of the Louvre’s staff for directions as often as necessary because there are so many stairs and so many halls that it is very easy to get confused and lost.

Once you get to a hall with a crowd of people jostling for a view of a small painting in a cordoned off area, then you know you’ve found her.

The Mona Lisa is smaller than what most people expect — 77 x 53 cm (approximately 30 × 21 inches) — and looks even smaller because you can only view her from a distance. As I said, she is cordoned off from the crowd some 6 to 10 feet away. Oh yes, there will be a crowd, and you’d have to elbow your way to get to the front and take a quick look at the famous masterpiece and perhaps have your photo taken with her. They say the average that people get to spend staring at her is 15 seconds only. And I’m not surprised. There are just too many people that you won’t have a chance to reflect on her real identity or ponder about the possible reasons for her enigmatic smile or even try to test the theory that her eyes seem to follow you if you view her from various angles.

Worse still, the Mona Lisa is protected by a sheet of bullet-proof glass, so you won’t get to examine the brush strokes or even the frame because the glass obscures the painting like a veil.

But if you’re going to Paris and you’ve decided to go to the Louvre, do see her. If you don’t, it will be like going to Australia and not seeing the Harbour Bridge… or going to KL and not seeing Petronas Twin Towers. In the mean time, feast your eyes on this photo that I took of her. Click on this photo to see a bigger version. Sorry for the ‘blur’ — it’s because of the bullet-proof glass, not camera shake.