I travelled more than nine thousand kilometers to get there. I waited in the queue for a few hours, and I paid 12 euros to see her. Once I was inside the Louvre, even when the museum has close to half a million different pieces to show, there are signs everywhere pointing in her direction. I knew I was getting close by hearing the noise from the congested room next door. People like me have travelled from all around the world just to experience this moment. Suddenly I am in the same room and I finally see her. I stand in front of a masterpiece, I stand in front of the Mona Lisa.
It took me awhile to understand the experience of being there. I was standing several meters away from her -because they don’t let you get closer- and there were dozens of people just standing there, watching her and taking pictures. It was almost like a concert, only that Mona is now more than 500 years old and has been there for decades. Mexicans, singaporeans or indians, we all travel just to see her. We pay, we wait, we queue and is just to be there.
Mona, just standing there, gets something close to 10 million visitors per year. She knows it and she is happy. The few minutes that you get to spend with her, she just stares at you, with her pompous smile. She is not beautiful, she is just the Gioconda. I could feel my blood burning. I was angry with that pretentious painting. I couldn’t believe that I went through all of that for the seconds I got to be there. What makes you so special? Nothing, and yet here we are, hundreds of people admiring you.
I walked away and it was clear to me that I wasn’t feeling the way I was before going into that room. My emotions changed, and I realized that there is only a few things in this life that can change my mood so fast. In this case was art, but not just any piece, I stood in front of a masterpiece. Isn’t the purpose of art to change one’s emotions? If so, Mona Lisa has a very special place and Leonardo was indeed a genius.
I don’t think there are many other pieces like this in the world but recently I found one. I went to Brussels and just like Mona Lisa inside the Louvre, there is a statue of a baby boy pissing, the Manneken Pis. Is not beautiful and is not impressive and yet there are everyday hundreds of tourists from all around the world that go there just to see the bronze statue. I stood there just for a few seconds and I felt ridiculous, staring at that 61 cm tall statue and like Mona Lisa, you have to stand far away to see the ugly baby. It has been there even before America was discovered and chances are that he still going to be there for the future years.
Also in Brussels there is another statue of a baby girl pissing -the Jeanneke Pis- but she has been there only for a few years and she is just disgusting and definitely not a masterpiece! Here are the rest of the pictures I took at Brussels.