A Vacation Diary
Wednesday, August 14, 1996
Today I headed to the Louvre. I hadn't been there since November, 1977.
The restoration of the exterior is nearly completed. The interior is still
undergoing restoration work although a major part of the work has been
done. There was a long line, even longer than the first Sunday. It was
a gray day and the museum had late closing on Wednesdays so I decided to
wait in line. I went to see Greek, Roman and Etruscan statues and friezes
in marble, granite and bronze. I took an early, light dinner at the museum
café on the terrace overlooking the Pyramid courtyard and once again
the sun was shining in Paris. Then I took in the Flemish and Dutch painters,
followed by the Italian and French painters. The first time I saw the Mona
Lisa (La Giaconda) was in December, 1971 and it hung in a small gallery
in its frame unprotected like all the other paintings. I was able to walk
up to it and nearly touch it with my nose. When I saw it again in November,
1977 it hung in the same place but it had a protective cover and it was
cordoned off so that the closest one could get was about five feet away.
A few years earlier some crazy person attacked the painting, but I don't
recall if it was damaged. This visit the painting hung in a larger gallery
and it was in a special enclosure not unlike on display in a store window
and it had the protective cover over the picture as well. Having made a
day of it I headed out for a stroll along the rue de Rivoli to do some
window shopping and then took the Métro back to the apartment.