Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mona Lisa Attacked

The Mona Lisa was briefly attacked this week when a disgruntled woman threw a teacup at the artwork's shield in the Louvre. The Russian woman, who is reported to have visited a psychiatric clinic after she attempted to damage the artwork, was called “clearly deranged” by officials. This attack has been added to the list of offenses staged against the painting, which included a 1956 dousing in acid and an attempted rock bashing after it was stolen in 1911 by an Italian nationalist (and returned in 1913). The Louvre is the biggest art museum in the world, and its star attraction is undoubtedly the Mona Lisa, now protected by bulletproof glass. Let's hope it stays this way, so many we'll be able to come see it for years to come!

The Louvre's not the only great place to go and check out top artwork collections: here are some amazing picks around the globe.

1. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco: The de Young is San Francisco's oldest art museum, known as the “City's Museum.” No only does this museum feature a great collection of American paintings and heirlooms, but it has plenty of educational arts programs for kids and their parents. Decorative arts and crafts round out their display.

Where to Stay
The Prescott Hotel: Located in a great downtown spot, this hotel is convenient for shopping destinations, and it has luxurious rooms and suites. Grab the Powell Street cable car, just one block away, to visit Fisherman's Wharf.

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco: Wander to the Museum of Modern Art during your travels, because this hotel is located within walking distance! Floor-to-ceiling windows and luxe amenities make this a special stay.

2. J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles:
Schedule plenty of time to explore the impressive J. Paul Getty Center, which has free admission. Take the tram up the hill to the Getty Center and take in the bronze sculptures and Renaissance displays. The setting compliments the impressive displays perfectly: it looks out over the city in a park-like spot.

Where to Stay
Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills: European grace plus Californian cool is a great way to enjoy your visit to Los Angeles. With 99 suites and over 250 rooms, you'll be pleased to explore their high-quality restaurant options as well as your private, step-out balcony. Their luxurious, full-service spa is a genius place to unwind, but you'll find many luxe nooks and crannies in their sprawling location.

3. Uffizi Gallery, Florence:
This palace location is a stunning stop for any historically-minded tourist who doesn't mind a bit of luxury with their sightseeing, and who doesn't? The internal courtyard of this space is so long and narrow that historians have said that it's the first “regularized streetscape of Europe.” The collection is so big that some of the pieces held within have been transferred to other museums, and there are plans to expand the place so that more artwork currently in storage can be viewed.

Where to Stay
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze: 175 miles north of Rome, Florence is perfectly situated to spend a few days before jetting off to other points in Italy and beyond. You'll be able to visit key points in Florence incredibly easily from your Four Seasons spot, and you can also gaze out over red-tiled roofs and high, large domes that rise above the city. Stunning, convenient, and unforgettable!

Continentale: If you're an international traveler who has seen it all, this is the place to go. Guestrooms have leather seats, furniture and desks in stylized, comfortable setups, and you might need to tear yourself away from the incredible view--it's impressive even to the most jaded!

4. National Gallery of Art: This Washington D.C. museum has been branded “excellent” by many a visitor, and it has a particularly impressive collection of sculptures. The East Building (1978) was designed by I.M. Pei and is quite the sight, with geometrical additions and details that almost looks like fragmented prisms. An extensive painting collection is highlighted by modern and contemporary works in the East Building.

Where to Stay
Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C.: Georgetown's leafy parks are your view from Four Seasons Hotel Washington D.C., which has 25 suites and plenty of luxury rooms. Fine dining is a snap at the Seasons Restaurant.

Will you be catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, or will it be something else during your next vacation?

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