to sell his business so that he could take a job
as a Louvre guard? **
The last chapter overwhelms the reader with a depressing torrent of the image being exploited by advertisers, and being vulgarized by an avalanche of painters. Articles in some medical journals have claimed to detect all kinds of diseases in the sitter - but to me this last chapter suggests that the disease is in our age.
|Which way to the Mona Lisa? We're double-parked|
WR_to_LISTEN. unit9. (first 9 minutes) Interview to D. Sasson (track and script here) PODCAST (14:41)-
From Amazon reviews,
Mr. Sassoon takes us through all the hoops in trying to explain why the "Mona Lisa" is most famous. Besides the fact that Leonardo painted it, the author mentions:
- the fact that the painting is in the Louvre;
- that it was stolen in a famous theft just a few years before WWI;
- that the advertising industry has latched onto the painting ad nauseum, etc.
We reach the end of the book not really believing that any of this is sufficient to explain the superstar status of this painting. ....
So, why the "Mona Lisa".....
Read this book for the interesting history of the painting and for the author's trenchant observations on the "art world". It helps that Mr. Sassoon has a great sense of humor about the whole thing, also.
** This is what a man named Leon Mekusa did in 1981. He explained that he considered "being able to greet the 'Mona Lisa' before anyone else in the morning as such a privilege that he had asked not to be paid."!! People even write letters to the painting, care of the Louvre....
- Gautier and Pater wrote purple prose about the lady, and if she had hired a publicity agent, she could not have achieved greater success.
- In 1911 she made headlines because she was stolen, and she has been a steady focus for fiction during the twentieth century.
- Nat King Cole's famous song.
- When in 1919 Marcel Duchamp drew a beard and goatee on a postcard of her, and exhibited this naughty French postcard under a saucy title, he continued a trend of including Mona in popular art,
- something that Malevich, Dali, Magritte, and Warhol have all done as well.
- There are good send-ups and bad, some that expand our ideas of the realm of this icon, and some that are just gross.
- A wide-ranging book. Witty and lucid, it is not so much about a painting as it is about fashions and history, and the role chance plays in our search for objects of fame.
BONUS track:. Dan Brown and Mona Lisa:
The work reflects the sacred union of male and female implied in the holy union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Such parity between the cosmic forces of masculine and feminine has long been a deep threat to the established power of the Church. The name Mona Lisa is actually an anagram for "Amon L'Isa", referring to the father and mother gods of Egypt.
For the painter, Leonardo,