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January 8, 1963

The “Mona Lisa” or “La Joconde” goes on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

“The most famous painting in the world” by Leonardo da Vinci (1504) is honored by 2000 dignitaries including President & Mrs. Kennedy.  Over the next 3 weeks, it will be viewed by 500,000 people.

 At first the French government & the Louvre opposed the showing but the French Minister of Culture, Andre Malraux, arranged for approval in appreciation of the promotion of the arts by President & Mrs. Kennedy.

Mrs. Kennedy had been a young student in Paris in the 1950s.  She had fallen in love with art & “all things French”.  

Margaret Leslie Davis writes in Mona Lisa in Camelot (Da Capo Press, 2008):

“The presidential couple understood the power of symbols and saw the exhibit as an opportunity to burnish the American image at home and abroad.”

JFK said at the unveiling ceremony:

“Politics and art, the life of action and the life of thought, the world of events and the world of imagination, are one.”

The Washington Post reported: 

“The Mona Lisa,  first lady of the world among paintings and Jacqueline Kennedy,  first lady of the nation, came face to face.” 

JFK, Marie-Madeleine Lioux, Andre Malraux, Jackie & LBJ

January 8, 1918

President Woodrow Wilson outlines his “Fourteen Points”  in an address to Congress. 

He proposes restoration of territories conquered during the (First) world war, self-determination & creation of a League of Nations to keep the peace.

January 8, 1815

Andrew Jackson wins the “greatest American victory” of the War of 1812 between the US & Britain.  The British under Sir Edward Pakenham suffer a one-sided defeat in which 2000 British soldiers are killed to only 8 for the U.S.

Jackson’s troops included sharpshooters from Kentucky & Tennessee.  The last armed conflict between the two nations was a morale booster for the United States & General Jackson would become the “Hero of New Orleans”.

January 8, 1976

 Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, dies of cancer.  Zhou was a key figure in China gaining official recognition by the United States.  He had been one of Mao Zedong’s most trusted advisers.

January 8, 1642

Galileo, the “Father of Modern Astronomy, Modern Physics & Science” dies in Italy at age 77.  He was the first to use a telescope & to confirm the fact that the earth orbits the sun.


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