A lifelong (about fifteen years, I guess) ambition fulfilled. Paris and The Louvre!
Let us get it out of the way. No, I was not disappointed by Mona Lisa - La Giaconda (pronounced something like la szhakOnda) as the French call it. I had already read so much about it, including people's disappointment when they saw it, ("It is so smaaaaaall!") that I had a fair idea of what to expect. Seeing it for real in the dim (to protect the treasure from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays) light was thrilling and satisfying. I had bought 1600 ASA (ISO) film at a hefty price just for the purpose and it paid off. Renting a radio device and headphones, walking into the area marked off by a metal strip embedded in the wooden floor around the niche where it is hung and listening over the headphones to the story and glory of la Giaconda was a pleasure!
The greater pleasure was actually to see Leonardo's Madonna of the Rocks and the huge charcoal study he made for it, the huge canvasses of the Romanticists, Eugene Delacroix's Raft of the Medusa, for instance, and Venus de Milo and so on.
The Raft of the Medusa was an eye opener. Having seen it only in books, the sheer size of it and its impact were totally unexpected. I sat on the wooden bench in front of it and gaped at it for as long as I could without seriously compromising the time I had for the whole museum. That left me wondering. What is an adequate length of time to see the whole museum?
To have something of the Louvre with me apart from the memories and the photographs, I bought a mini guide to the museum. Once in a while, I take the book out and go through it to travel back in time and walk through my garden of memories.
Art Abroad VII