Part Un: The Louvre
When visiting Paris, you have to visit The Louvre. If you don't, when you get to customs they won't let you out. So, I went to The Louvre. It's an incredibly big museum with incredibly long lines.
After the three hour wait for tickets I headed straight to the Leonardo Da Vinci wing to see the Mona Lisa.
Me and six busloads of Japanese tourists. Sadly, that's the closest I got to Mona. Her smile really is enigmatic, I think. Seriously, do you think I would let down my loyal reader and not fight my way through 600 stubborn Japanese tourists, all steadfastly obsessed with taking a picture of a picture that is housed behind an inch of scratched and glare-y bulletproof glass when they can easily download a perfectly good jpg off the internet?
What the guidebooks don't tell you about the Mona Lisa is that it's pretty small. Here's the Mona Lisa actual size.
And it's postmarked Genoa,
August 15, 1505. Turns out Leonardo was commissioned to create a two lire stamp by Francesco del Giocondo and the Mona Lisa was born. Disappointing? A bit.
My favorite Da Vinci painting at The Louvre is considered a minor work. After the overwhelming success of The Last Supper, Leonardo started pumping out all kinds of sequels. Did you know that after dinner, Jesus and a couple of the boys broke out the cards and chips and played Monday Night Baseball and Mexican Roll Your Own until the wee hours?
Da Vinci's The Last Card Game is a Late-Renaissance masterpiece. But Leonardo's true genius isn't displayed in his use of perspective, the fullness of the folds in the robes or the subtle expressions on the faces of the players. It's in the details.
If you look carefully under the table, you can see that Our Savior Jesus Christ is slipping Apostle Paul an ace of clubs. Hilarious! I will defintely wear sandals to my next poker game.
A Short Break From The Louvre To Discuss My Socks
I was the only person in France that was wearing white, calf-length socks. Despite these socks, 127 French guys stopped and asked me directions, in French. After I fumbled out a "No parlyview frances," they'd counter with an "Allemand?" I'd say no, American. Realizing that an American in white, calf-length socks could never possibly know where anything is in Paris, they'd apologize and move on.
Here are my socks in Amsterdam and London.
The Dutch and English took one look at my socks and never, ever, mistook me for a native. What's with the French?
Back To The Louvre
A lot of you guys don't know but Leonardo was not just a great painter and sculptor, he was also an engineer and inventor. The Louvre has one of his greatest inventions.
Apparently, Leonardo also invented ping pong. Guy was a regular Rensaissance man.
Sometimes when you go to an art museum you learn something about world history that has absolutely nothing to do with art.
Look at the carefully carved hair on the back of this guy, let's call him David since I have no clue who he really is. I have that same patch of hair on the small of my back. I find it embarassing and ridiculous. When I'm at the supermarket topless, I'll walk around awkwardly carrying the basket full of groceries behind me so as to hide this patch of hair. When I was like 22 and had a date with a chick to the beach for the first time, I reached around and shaved it off.
Not Leonardo's peeps.
That patch of hair is thick and luxurious. It looks like David's prep team, shamppooed, conditioned and styled that bad boy.
You'd think that a statue of David with a big bush of back hair would be my favorite statue but you'd be wrong. This one is. I call it Ladyboy in Repose.
Yup, that girl is packing some nice mudpuppies and a schlong. Funny thing, see all those guys taking photos from the wrong side? I was the only guy in The Louvre that figured out that androgyne was French for transvestite hooker. They're all taking a photo of a sleepy woman taking a lie down.
Bottomline, is The Louvre worth waiting three hours for tickets, getting knocked down countless times by dozens of Japanese tourists -- when the Mona Lisa is no bigger than a placemat?
Yes. Why? One word, penis.
When you walk around The Louvre gazing at all the tiny penises you feel really wonderful about yourself.