The Mona Lisa

Philip and Phoebe, the terrible twins, have just got back from a trip to Paris. While there they visited Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting, the Mona Lisa, in the Louvre museum. Phoebe thinks the painting is wonderful but, not surprisingly, Philip begs to differ.

"I don't see what all the fuss is about," says Philip. "I certainly wouldn't pay millions of pounds to buy it. It's not as if the colours are very pretty or anything."

"But," replies Phoebe, genuinely shocked, "it's one of the greatest paintings in the world. All the art experts agree that it's a masterpiece. Surely you must see that."

"Well, I don't like it," answers Philip, "and I don't see why I should. Beauty is just a matter of opinion, after all, and I don't think it's beautiful."

"Oh dear, Philip," says Phoebe in her most infuriatingly superior tone. "Maybe one day when you're older you'll come to appreciate it. All the best people do, you know."

* * *

Who is right, Philip or Phoebe? Is beauty just 'in the eye of the beholder', or are some things really beautiful whether we realise it or not? And is 'good art' simply a matter of personal taste?

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