The first attendant to spot the space on the wall assumed it had been taken down to be photographed. Another thought its removal was a security precaution. A third was discovered beneath a parasol, asleep. The motive for the theft was never fully clear.
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The first attendant to spot the space on the wall assumed it had been taken down to be photographed. Another thought its removal was a security precaution. A third was discovered beneath a parasol, asleep.
The motive for the theft was never fully clear. The culprit, a penniless house-painter named Vincenzo Perugia, had strolled out of the Louvre with the Mona Lisa under his smock and taken the bus home. When he finally exposed himself by offering the panel to a Florentine art dealer two years later, it appeared that the scheme was rooted in a muddled sense of patriotism.
Perugia believed he was returning Napoleonic loot, unaware that Leonardo had transported the painting to France for presentation to Francis I. Perugia bequeathed the Louvre an empty space that could have been entitled "Missing Mona Lisa". Hordes of spectators, Franz Kafka among them, thronged to observe the space where the painting had been. Mona is back now, of course, smiling wanly through a carapace of yellowing varnish and bullet-proof glass.
James Elkins has traced the propensity of artworks to elicit tears throughout the ages, and wonders if we have developed into such emotional arthritics that we will weep copiously over the schmaltziest books and movies, but remain stoically dry-eyed in front of paintings. Darian Leader uses the theft of the Mona Lisa as a springboard for a discussion about what is missing in art.
Leader points out that Freud invariably turned to art whenever he faced a clinical impasse. Leader manipulates this argument into an analysis of what it is that great art stops us seeing - which, in Freudian terms, is always the great unseen of the genitals. The opening chapter finds him in the Rothko chapel in Houston, Texas, dominated by vast blobs which leave him feeling "coddled, nearly smothered, in a smooth but impalpable softness". The experience leaves the author dizzy and slightly despairing, but resolutely dry-eyed.
In the past, Elkins posits, people broke down in front of paintings all the time. Stendhal was so overwhelmed by the treasures of Florence that he had a syndrome named after him. Even Diderot confessed to blubbing over a typically cynical confection by Greuze. Intrigued, Elkins fired off letters to the top brass of the art-historical establishment to inquire if anyone could recall being moved to tears, and received negative responses from them all. Both he and Leader argue that great art acts as a mysterious portal to the subconscious.
Adopting the somewhat gothic-horror term coined by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Leader refers to it as "the Thing". Elkins has a different name for it: he calls it God. My recommendation, therefore, is that you enjoy the career-jeopardising pot-shots Elkins takes at his colleagues, then close it on page
Can this tell us something about why we l When the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre init was twenty-four hours before anyone noticed it was missing. Despite Peruggia having left a large thumbprint at the scene, it took the Parisian police two years to retrieve the painting and make their arrest. While the title suggests that this book is about the Mona Lisa and its theft from the Louvre, that event is merely the starting point for a much broader discussion of art. Hordes of spectators, Franz Kafka among them, thronged to observe the space where the painting had been. Oct 10, Earthwatchaddict rated it liked it. Even Diderot confessed to blubbing over a typically cynical confection by Greuze. Sig rated it it was ok Apr 28, Refresh and try again.
DARIAN LEADER STEALING THE MONA LISA PDF
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