What are the charms of the Mona Lisa? (She isn’t telling.)

The response of most tourists, on first seeing the Mona Lisa in person, is one of vague disappointment. Eavesdrop on the multitudes and, before long, someone will dare to ask the question on everyone’s mind: What’s the big deal? The Mona Lisa, however, sits enthroned in the center of the Louvre, which lies in the center of Paris, which, for more than 100 years, was the unchallenged center of Western art. Indeed, the painting, begun in 1503, seemed—and still seems—somehow French, having entered the national patrimony around 1516, when Francis I invited Leonardo to his palace at Amboise. – from WSJ