La Gioconda

La Joconde

I took these photos at Musée du Louvre in Paris. Being in the Mona Lisa room was interesting -- a lot more lively than I expected. Every other time when I saw this painting, whether on TV or in books, the settings were calm, monotonous, and often religious. At the Louvre Museum, noise, crowd, and urgency seemed to dominate the room.

It reminded me a bit of the atomosphere at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on New Years Day. Hundreds of thoughsands of people were waiting in a long queue to make the first prayer of the year at the main shrine. The air was filled with the excitement for this unusual activity as well as the slight frustration for the seemingly endless line and the urgency to move ahead of other people.

At Louvre, this renowned painting appeared unaffected by the waves of crowd rushing in and out of the room. Mona Lisa maintained its enigmatic aura in this traffic jam and, for the first time, I appreciated the painting's value beyond its brand name.

I wonder what people will recall when they return to the photos they took. Would the memories of all the noise, crowd, and urgency be lost? What kinds of emotions would their photos bring back?











This artwork was inspired by the Picturesque project.

Artistic Director: Mika Matsuzaki
Assistant Artistic Director: Benjamin Mako Hill

Copyright 2010 by Mika Matsuzaki and Benjamin Mako Hill

This work is licensed under a CC-BY-SA3.0