Mona Lisa Almost Gets Wet, Causes Cultural Pant Pissing

by Karen Archey on August 11, 2009 · 20 comments Events

POST BY KAREN ARCHEY

The crowd salivating over Mona Lisa at the Louvre, image via Wikipedia

Splish splash, was Mona Lisa havin’ a bath?! Despite some histrionic reports about the Mona Lisa “narrowly escaping” destruction by a renegade tea cup thrown by a disgruntled Russian woman denied French citizenship, the painting is indeed alright thanks to its BULLETPROOF GLASS CASING. We know it’s August and the art world is “on hiatus,” but it really must be a slow news day.

Arguably the most famous painting the world, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa won’t be destroyed anytime soon. The artwork touts a security detail with multiple guards, a wooden “corral” warding off close spectators, and the aforementioned bulletproof glass casing. Perhaps the most recent actual near non-disaster occurred in 1963 when the canvas was rained on by the Met’s sprinkler system. On loan from the Louvre, the masterpiece faced a close call but remained impervious.

Of course, it would undoubtedly suck if Da Vinci’s painting was actually damaged, but such dramatized reports seem like overkill. What could this hysterically overprotective attitude toward masterpieces tell us about our culture?  Perhaps it highlights the fact that collectively we still have an insatiable desire to see the “original” object, perpetuating the significance of in-person aesthetic experiences over that of reproductions. Although print-based and online reproductions now dominate the way we experience art, seeing such lionized works in person still clearly remains on a pedestal.

  • http://www.unutterable.org Giovanni

    It would have been more interesting if the cup had featured an image of the Mona Lisa.

  • http://www.unutterable.org Giovanni

    It would have been more interesting if the cup had featured an image of the Mona Lisa.

  • Jim VanKirk

    Obviously the disgruntled Russian has similar feelings Paddy. I don’t however.

  • Jim VanKirk

    Obviously the disgruntled Russian has similar feelings Paddy. I don’t however.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Hey Jim,

    Just a heads up — Karen Archey wrote this post.

    Paddy

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Hey Jim,

    Just a heads up — Karen Archey wrote this post.

    Paddy

  • Jim VanKirk

    I’m on notice to read more carefully. “… Karen.”

  • Jim VanKirk

    I’m on notice to read more carefully. “… Karen.”

  • http://www.skypape.com Sky Pape

    Are you sure they weren’t getting all confused with the Mona Latte, recreation of the Mona Lisa using 3,604 cups of coffee – and 564 pints of milk? See Mona Latte

  • http://www.skypape.com Sky Pape

    Are you sure they weren’t getting all confused with the Mona Latte, recreation of the Mona Lisa using 3,604 cups of coffee – and 564 pints of milk? See Mona Latte

  • http://rlskbk.tumblr.com/ Rejin L

    I guess that Russian had good aim, luckily she managed to hit the Mona Lisa’s bullet proof glass and not one of the many nearby unprotected masterpieces. Maybe the way the Louvre displays the ML is a subtle indicator to tourists of which works are worthy of being attacked?

  • http://rlskbk.tumblr.com/ Rejin L

    I guess that Russian had good aim, luckily she managed to hit the Mona Lisa’s bullet proof glass and not one of the many nearby unprotected masterpieces. Maybe the way the Louvre displays the ML is a subtle indicator to tourists of which works are worthy of being attacked?

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Karen Archey

    Rejin — it’s okay, the other masterpieces have force fields.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Karen Archey

    Rejin — it’s okay, the other masterpieces have force fields.

  • http://www.thestranger.com/visualart strangerpromogirrl

    What is really sad is that in the past they had to remove paintings from the Mona Lisa room in the Louvre because so many people were smashing against it to get a better “view” (picture) of the Mona Lisa.

    When I was at the Louvre last summer I made a point to just get a picture of everyone taking a picture, turned out fantastic.

    There is a really interesting project done by an artist that I am blanking the name on. He stood outside of the room & offered people cash & a small watercolor he reproduced of the Mona Lisa in exchange for not going in to see it, interesting reasons and results. Think it was called “The Mona Lisa Project”, think it only came out in print as well.

  • http://www.thestranger.com/visualart strangerpromogirrl

    What is really sad is that in the past they had to remove paintings from the Mona Lisa room in the Louvre because so many people were smashing against it to get a better “view” (picture) of the Mona Lisa.

    When I was at the Louvre last summer I made a point to just get a picture of everyone taking a picture, turned out fantastic.

    There is a really interesting project done by an artist that I am blanking the name on. He stood outside of the room & offered people cash & a small watercolor he reproduced of the Mona Lisa in exchange for not going in to see it, interesting reasons and results. Think it was called “The Mona Lisa Project”, think it only came out in print as well.

  • J.V.

    It’s a good thing the potential damage from the Met sprinklers was limited to the Mona Lisa’s canvas. It would have been a disaster if they had destroyed the poplar panel upon which it’s painted.

  • J.V.

    It’s a good thing the potential damage from the Met sprinklers was limited to the Mona Lisa’s canvas. It would have been a disaster if they had destroyed the poplar panel upon which it’s painted.

  • jackaction

    look at all those better paintings going unnoticed by the throngs

  • jackaction

    look at all those better paintings going unnoticed by the throngs

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