Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa

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Click for availability and more information Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa, by R.A. Scotti

Even if you're not an art expert, you'll find Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa (Knopf, 2009) interesting and suspenseful. Based on a true story, "Vanished Smile" recounts the theft of DaVinci's Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris on August 21, 1911. Since the museum was closed on Mondays, it took museum security 24 hours to realize it was missing. It was not uncommon for photographers to remove the paintings from their hangings and take them to a back room for shooting. There had also been some pranks which involved moving paintings to the wrong location in the museum. (Security back then was pretty lax.) So treasured was the Mona Lisa that some patrons even brought flowers and love letters, and laid them at her feet. The French police tried to keep the theft quiet. It was valued at $112.5 million, and was one of the most sought after works of art. Word finally leaked out, and authorities in France and America checked people coming in and out of the two countries, to no avail. Interestingly, Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, two artists trying to promote Cubism, were among the suspects. Many people tried to pass off reproductions of the original to collect a reward, but experts were able to identify the fakes. After two years, an Italian , Vincenzo Peruggia, turned up with the original painting. He wanted a monetary reward and credit for returning the national treasure, but instead he was tried and sent to prison for a year. Scotti provides some background history about the painting, and even several other theories about its theft. There has never been an adequate explanation as to what really happened. This book is very entertaining and well worth reading. I have no doubt it will become a best seller.

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This page contains a single entry published on May 26, 2009 2:48 PM.

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