Have you ever seen the Mona Lisa? I'm not asking if you've seen a picture of the painting — I'm talking about the painting itself. I saw it for the first time the summer of 1972 with my French cousin Annie. Her family lives in the suburbs of Paris, and I was visiting them and other relatives on my first trip to France. (My paternal grandmother was French.) In my mind's eye I pictured what this most famous portrait in the world would be like. Since it attracted millions of visitors each year, I assumed the painting would be "larger than life." I was surprised that it is only 30 inches × 21 inches (77 cm × 53 cm). Below is a picture of the Mona Lisa, known in France as La Joconde and in her native Italy as La Gioconda.
It's a good thing this world famous "mug shot" is in that protective case — earlier this month (August 2) a Russian woman pulled a ceramic mug out of her purse and threw it at the Mona Lisa in anger and frustration. The deranged woman was sent to a psychiatric ward afterwards. Because of the protective case, this woman's attack was an unsuccessful, literal "mug shot."
The painting has a long history of attacks. It was stolen in 1911 by an Italian nationalist, a Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia. My French grandmother was a 12 year old girl at the time of the theft — I wonder if she even heard about the theft.... The painting was finally returned in 1913. In 1956 it was doused with acid. Later that same year a man damaged the painting by throwing a rock at it. Sometime in the 16 intervening years between those attacks and my 1972 visit, Mona Lisa was put in that climate-controlled, protective case.
I know it seems a bit irreverent to call this celebrated portrait a mug shot. But that term took on a new meaning last month at the 12th annual Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, Australia. The festival featured the huge picture of Mona Lisa made of 3604 coffee cups. 564 pints of milk were used to lighten some of the cups of coffee cups to achieve the required shades for the design. Here are two pictures of the picture.
Now that is a mug shot!
Many other items have been used to recreate versions of the Mona Lisa. This one was done by 300 employees at a department store in Osaka, Japan. They built their rendition with nothing more than old train tickets — several hundred thousand of them.
A mystery artist used about 800 Rubik's cubes to create the image below. He twisted each cube to get the colors he wanted on the top face before placing them next to each other on a board.
Lego has its own Mona Lisa.
That wasn't enough for Eric Harshbarger who used Legos to create "Mona Lego," composed of over 30,000 Lego blocks. It measures six by eight feet and weighs over 45 pounds.
Chinese artist Ju Duoqi did a version of Mona Lisa with vegetables. Her veggie Mona Lisa ("Mona Tofu") is made out of rice, sea kelp, and tofu.
In addition to various versions of the Mona Lisa, there are plenty of perversions. Here she is with bubble gum.
Here's Goth Mona Lisa.
Here she is in a burqa.
Here are some animated "gif" images of Mona Lisa.
I'll end this part of the post with a Mona Lisa comic strip.
Some of my regular readers may have noticed that I didn't do my usual Thursday blog post last week. I had to make a quick trip up to Ohio to help deal with some issues that my mother is having. If you are one who prays, please pray that Mom's thinking will clear up soon. She is having some exceedingly dark thoughts right now, and it's hard to know why this started happening all of a sudden.
What are your thoughts about the Mona Lisa? Do you think it deserves the status it enjoys?
"God calls dead rebels to life." - Joshua Pegram
If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
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