Has anyone in the last 100 years or so actually spent time with the Mona Lisa in the Louvre? I have never visited the museum so I can’t say what it is like for real but for what people have stood in front of the painting have told me or from what I have read it is not a pleasant experience. The Mona Lisa, after all, is probably the most famous painting in the world and so it will always be very very popular and so very few people indeed get the chance to examine it for anything other the briefest of moments before being hassled along. So who really knows what the painting look like?
The only reason I ask this is because I spent quite some time with a copy of the painting at the Walker’s Gallery in Liverpool yesterday. Was this the real painting? Of course not but, according to the blurb, it is considered to be a close approximation of the original and so probably I, and anyone else who might take the time to sit and contemplate the Liverpool painting, have a better feel for the original than the millions of visitors who file past the painting each year. Is this valid? Not sure but it is a thought that came to me as I sat there yesterday with the Hans Holbein (studio of) painting of Henry 8th glowing over my shoulder.