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Pictures of the Louvre Museum in Paris

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Da Vinci's La Gioconda (Mona Lisa)
Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa or La Giaconda
©2007 Musee du Louvre/Angele Dequier
In the early 15th century, Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci revolutionized the art of portraiture and helped usher in the Italian Renaissance with "La Gioconda", a work far better known today as the "Mona Lisa" and now one of the Louvre's most-coveted holdings. Countless tourists come to the vast museum simply to feast their eyes on it.

However, the painting, which is actually quite small and protected behind heavy glass, can be hard to get close to on account of the large crowds. Try getting to the Louvre on a weekday or early in the morning for a better chance at getting a close look at the lady with the mysterious half-smile.

NEXT: Venus de Milo at the Louvre

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