'Steal it': Twitter suggests other uses for the Mona Lisa
Europe / 11 November 2019, 4:00pm / Natalie B. Compton
During every minute of the Louvre Museum's operating hours, tourists crowd en masse to see the world's most famous painting in all its glory.
Hanging behind sealed bulletproof glass, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci didn't rise to meteoric fame until after it was stolen in 1911. Today, it draws millions of visitors annually. But many leave their visit underwhelmed.
Then came a hot take from Jason Farago, art critic for the New York Times. In his piece "It's Time to Take Down the Mona Lisa," Farago calls the painting "a security hazard, an educational obstacle and not even a satisfying bucket-list item" and calls for the oft-hailed masterpiece to be moved to a space built just for her.
Twitter erupted in a respective tweetstorm, with the social media platform's users firing off a range of responses. A lot of people seemed to have stopped reading at the headline and thought Farago wanted to do away with the painting completely.
Others sent their ideas - facetious fixes and solid suggestions alike - for how to improve the situation. Here are our seven favourite solutions, from the practical to the ludicrous.
Make a Mona scavenger hunt
Instead of featuring only the one true Mona Lisa, plant a number of fake copies around the Louvre and let people guess which one is real, according to one Twitter user.
Farago noted in his story that there's no other painting at the museum with a crowding problem, and Marc Breaux's solution would take the crowding away from the singular Mona. Verifying paintings, even da Vinci's works, is a hotly contested topic anyway. Why not throw more fakes into the mix?
Ban smartphone use in the gallery
People aren't necessarily clamouring to catch a glimpse of the painting itself, but to get a photo of it or with it. Political writer Susan Milligan argues that if photography were banned, the crowds would be less chaotic.
Not everyone will vibe with her solution; if you don't take a Mona Lisa picture, did you even visit? We're just supposed to tell people that we saw it? In 2019, you need Instagram proof of your fine art adventures. Or at least a photograph that will live on an iPad for eternity.
Move the Mona Lisa to Marseille
Paris does not need any help drawing tourists. Why not encourage those 10 million people who went to see the Mona Lisa last year to see a different French city altogether? That's what one Twitter user recommended.
While Farago argued for a move to the United Arab Emirates, Stephen Smith first offers the suggestion of keeping the painting in the family and shipping it to Marseille. It'd be a tourism boost for any French city outside of the capital, and it would probably cut down the number of visitors anyway to only those willing to make the trip.
Steal the Mona Lisa
We do not endorse this one, but GQ editor Chris Gayomali throws in a wild card with the suggestion to steal the Mona Lisa. Considering the painting went whatever the 1911 equivalent of viral was when it was first stolen, it could work magic again today. The move would create a new media firestorm leading up to the painting's move to Marseille.
Make the Mona Lisa into a festival
Millennials have been blamed for killing a number of once-loved things, from cereal to the diamond industry. Is the generation to blame for killing the Mona Lisa, too? A millennial-caused problem deserves a millennial-approved solution.
Combine the generation's penchant for travel experiences and music festivals by creating a festival dedicated to da Vinci's painting, complete with a hot local food lineup, noteworthy musical headliners and long lines for porta-potties.
Destroy all famous art
In a "this is why we can't have nice things" move, Sean O'Neal calls for a destruction not just of the Mona Lisa, but also all major works of art. We've proved that we can't handle the heat, so it's time to get out of the creative kitchen completely. Leave us with lesser-known artwork until we learn how to behave in the big leagues.
Give her bangs
The Cut magazine came in with what they called a solution, not a cancellation, that many women turn to in life: The Mona Lisa should just get bangs. It might not fix your problems, but adding fringe is an easy tweak that at least feels life-changing. Just don't give the job to the artist who touched up that 19th-century painting of Jesus in Borja, Spain.