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Picture them in person

By JANET K. KEELER, Times Staff Writer
Published April 2, 2006

In the mind's eye it is easy to picture the most famous paintings of Western artists. We know them well, the swirling starry night and that woman with the crooked little smile.

But seeing reproductions of paintings or conjuring what we remember is quite different from studying them face-to-face. In person, you can follow the brush strokes, imagine the scene, feel the passion. Not easy to do from a flat reproduction.

For instance, Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa looms so large and yet, up close and personal, the masterpiece is only 31 by 21 inches. Scale is another characteristic that's difficult to grasp from an art history book.

Unfortunately, the best-known paintings are not all in the same museum, and some are in private collections. The following is a list of a few of the world's best-loved works of art and where they hang. If you are making a special trip to see a piece of work, check ahead. It may be on loan to another musuem or undergoing restoration. Go to www.artcyclopedia.com to learn more.

- JANET K. KEELER, Times food and travel editor

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