A piece in the Journal this weekend wondered why seeing the Mona Lisa in person is such a disappointing experience. (The question has been asked before.) Critic James Gardner suggests one: “Unfortunately, like the dollar bill and the American flag, it has assumed a pall of such impenetrable familiarity that we no longer see it at all.”
I’m inclined to accept that, but I’m also curious: For how much longer will it continue to be the case? Do kids still learn about the Mona Lisa in school? Does it carry the same significance to successive generations that it has for the last 100-odd years? Do their Adderall-addled brains, rewired by Google and spoiled for choice, give this and similar iconic images the same priority that once made it a top five box on the standard-issue Western culture checklist? Do they still sing “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain?” and “This Land Is Your Land?” and whatever else I grew up learning? And, if not, are those necessarily bad things?
I don’t know! That’s a lot of questions for which I have no answer and which people have obviously been asking for a while now. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Do you think we’re close to living in a world where the most well-known portrait of a lady is something like this?
Because I might be okay with that.