Monday, July 4, 2011
Why the Mona Lisa Can’t (Won’t?) Go Home Again
People who can name only one painting in the world usually name the Mona Lisa. For better or worse, Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of (probably) Lisa del Giocondo rises above all cultural barriers and transcends taste with a smile. As Donald Sassoon argued in his 2001 book Becoming Mona Lisa: The Making of a Global Icon, a large part of that fame came from the infamous theft of the painting in 1911, when Vincenzo Peruggia walked out of the Louvre with the work hidden under his coat and fled to his homeland of Italy, which Peruggia believed to be the painting’s homeland, too. After waiting two years, Peruggia tried to sell the painting to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. After Peruggia’s arrest, the Mona Lisa toured her homeland one last time before heading back to the Louvre. With the 100th anniversary of that theft looming this August, the Uffizi and Italy want La Gioconda (the Italian nickname) back, at least for a while, but the Louvre and France say La Joconde (the French nickname) is going nowhere. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Why the Mona Lisa Can’t (Won’t?) Go Home Again."