Haloing art

All art is an artist’s attempt to share their consciousness with others, but when a work of art serves as the financial instrument of a philanthropist a golden aura gathers around it, and under the influence of this magical light our perception of it changes, and this is the sparkling and seductive aura of capital. Spending $100 million on a painting isn’t a discrete purchase — it’s a deliberately ostentatious statement with a five-alarm fire, a fireworks display, and a flyby of the Red Arrows all at the same time...
The Mona Lisa has become the Mona Lisa because of the legendary stories that have accumulated around that rather “unremarkable” little portrait. The Mona Lisa cannot be assessed as a painting anymore. It is inextricably linked to value, by the international idolization of Leonardo Da Vinci to the status of a demigod, by Napoleon’s secretion of the painting into his bedroom, by the infamous thefts which transformed her into an icon of France, by its successful concealment through the resistance from the Nazis during the Second World War, by its transatlantic journey from Paris to New York in an hermetically sealed box designed so that even if the ship went down like the Titanic, the painting would survive, establishing it as an artefact more valuable than an ocean liner, or its passengers, who were presumably expected to fend for themselves in the freezing water.

From Mutual Art