4.07.2009

What could this be about?


I find this cover uninspired and goofy. Yes, it has the "wonderful" Mona Lisa (whose lack of eyebrows I've always found kinda freaky), a classic of Italian Renaissance art and most famous resident of the Louvre. But that big fat orange question mark strikes me as very silly. Hmmmm, what could this book be about? Without looking at the title, one would guess it is about the identify of the model. One would be wrong.
The title (you really have to squint to see it) is Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa. It tells the story of when the painting was stolen from the Louvre in the early 1900s, which sounds like an interesting read to me. I just find the cover so boring -- a clash of the sublime and the stupid. Maybe I just hate orange?
Anyway, an interesting factoid is that no one noticed the painting was gone for a full 24 hours. I'm sure some visitors to the Louvre would have assume that it had been removed for cleaning or restoration or something, but you would think someone would have asked. Maybe they didn't have any security guards back then. Or, more likely, the guards were French, and no one is afraid of the French. See the video below for proof. (By the way, I'm 1/4 French, so I have at least some standing to jokingly bash the French.)

video

4 comments:

Osaka Nagaremono said...

yeah, those are British Royal Marines in that video.

Mac said...

Leo painted the eyebrows; incompetent restorers accidentally lifted them off.

danu-mactire said...

To add on to Mac's comment, it wasn't only crappy restorers that accidentally removed them, it's the fact that Leo painted the eyebrows (and lashes too) so fine that they've also faded a lot (the numerous revarnishings the painting's gone through hasn't helped)

ichi said...

the brows were apparently painted on later when the rest of the painting was already dry. our art history professor explained the lack of brows saying that in the 17th century a restorer had used wrong chemicals to remove the varnish, lifting the brows off the painting as well.