The aim of this chapter is to develop a different approach to the study of the material world, one that takes seriously the seemingly banal fact that things are constantly falling out of place. Taking this fact seriously, the chapter argues, requires us to think about the material world not in terms of ‘objects,’ but ecologically, that is, in terms of the processes and conditions under which certain ‘things’ come to be differentiated and identified as particular kinds of ‘objects’ endowed with particular forms of meaning, value and power. The article demonstrates the purchase of this ecological approach through the example of the Mona Lisa. It does so by exploring the rather extraordinary processes of containment and maintenance that are required to keep the Mona Lisa legible as an art object over time.