Falling in Louvre with Paris

On the way to Musée du Louvre, I had much excitement because I knew the historically famous Mona Lisa would be there. I could finally see the masterpiece responsible for many class lectures, novels, and movies. Other than this, I never knew much about art. The era, the artist, the style, and the region of origin has always been a blur to me. Nonetheless, I still enjoy attending art museums because I find it astonishing when you encounter a piece that evokes so much emotion. Thus, I was open-minded and curious to see what the Musée du Louvre had to offer.

Upon reading Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, I noticed Harriet Beecher Stowe had similar feelings when she prepared for her encounter with the Louvre. Her optimism toward being in the “dreamland” of Paris spread toward her visit to the Louvre. She noted that the Louvre was at the top of the list of things she wanted to do, and upon approaching the museum, she was thrilled. She had many questions which she hoped the museum could answer, such as “What is art? and what can it do?” (98). She quickly found out that her expectations may have been set too high. Once inside, she looked desperately for a painting that takes her breath away, but does not come across one. She realized her unmet expectations and abandoned her preconceived ideas of the Louvre. It is then that she began to really enjoy the artwork around her.

Harriet Beecher Stowe and I shared similar excitement for visiting Musée du Louvre; however, she had high expectations, whereas I did not. My expectations were neither high nor low. Thus, when entering the Louvre, I was very impressed with what I saw. The first exhibit I entered was the sculpture garden, which took my breath away.  Natural light came in through the ceiling, which made the light-colored room seem colossal. There were two levels of scattered large white-stoned sculptures. I was at a loss for words as I admired the art I was submerged in. After spending a while in the exhibit, I continued to the rest of the museum, still thinking about the sculpture garden and how small it made me feel. I remember feeling as though the rest of the art felt inferior to such an impressive first encounter. Nonetheless, I was still able to appreciate most of the other art work I observed. It was not long before it was time to witness the moment I had been anticipating the most; seeing the Mona Lisa. I walked into the room and immediately saw the large crowd in front of the painting. I walked towards the mob and squeezed my way to the front. There she was. I looked at her; my eyes quickly examining every corner of the painting for the mob made me feel rushed. I took in every detail of the painting since I knew I may never see it again. She was exactly what I had expected. Not too impressive, but very satisfying to see it in real life.  I took an obligatory photo and squeezed my way back through the mob toward the exit. I was neither disappointed nor excited; I felt content. Without giving much thought to my encounter with Mona Lisa, I continued on to other exhibits in the Louvre with my mind still on the magnificent sculpture garden.


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