THERE WAS a flurry of activity in Sothebys of London this morning when arguably the world’s most famous piece of art, the Mona Lisa, went at auction for the sum of 30 euros.
Highly competitive bidding on the floor of the auction house as well as on phones manned by Sothebys’ staff made for a chaotic and electric atmosphere as renaissance artist Leonardo Di Vinci’s portrait of Lisa Gherardini, finished in 1517, went under the hammer.
“5 euro, 55 cent,” came the roar from the floor as one suited gentleman raised his hand and the bidding, sparking bid after bid after bid, as onlookers gasped with delight as monetary figures were thrown around like confetti.
“I can’t quite believe it,” said a woman fainting into the arms of a nearby man as bidding began eclipsing the 20 euro just 60 minutes after the auction opened.
Housed in the Louvre since 1797, management had made the decision to sell the piece citing their own boredom with having to look at the same portrait day after day.
“We tried moving it, switching places with the Veronese opposite, see if it lifted the room a bit, ya know. But to be honest we’ve had it for ages and it just needs to go,” head curator Henri Beaufort explained.
With the final hammer came down after the auctioneer declared ‘going once, going twice, going three times, sold’ the Louvre was as much as 30 euro better off.
“You can get like 5 or 6 IKEA picture frames for that price, all sorts of colours, they’ll probably take its place. Ah, we’ll hardly recognise the place, it’ll be great,” confirmed Beaufort, escorted via armed guard from Sothebys clutching the money.