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Perspectives From the Archives

Famous Foreign Lady Captures Heart of New York, 1963

Jan 8, 2021 3 MINUTES
On February 7, 1963, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” made her public debut at The Met. Hundreds stood in the queue on that chilly winter morning, eager for the opportunity to see one of the world’s most famous paintings. Kept behind inch-thick bulletproof glass and under intense surveillance—including two Secret Service men, two New York City police detectives, and two Museum guards—"La Gioconda" ultimately attracted more than one million visitors to The Met in the span of a single month. In this charming newsreel footage, a group of schoolchildren contemplates her enduring mystery.

Read more about the "Mona Lisa" at The Met:

As part of The Met’s 150th anniversary in 2020, each month we will release three to four films from the Museum’s extensive moving-image archive, which comprises over 1,500 films, both made and collected by the Museum, from the 1920s onward. This includes rarely seen artist profiles and documentaries, as well as process films about art-making techniques and behind-the-scenes footage of the Museum.

New films every week:

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More from From the Vaults

Fasanella, 1992

Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, 1992

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Organism, 1975—A Film by Hilary Harris

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GIF of eighties version of Met logo, animated architecture zooming out to reveal computerized Met Fifth Avenue building