About the Mona Lisa

Surveys and megasites | Encyclopedias

Surveys and megasites

Mona Lisa Images for a Modern World, Robert A. Baron's detailed Mona Lisa omnigatherum. This is a deep site, rich with images and analytical text. For example, there are some 1,000 words about the "toast Mona Lisa" and 3,000 words about reality and dreams triggered by a two-sided pillow. The Teacher's Guide is another highlight.

The Mona Lisa Exposed. An excellent Mona Lisa project produced by Jay Meattle a Tufts University course. There are a number of good pages (sorted here under their various categories), but the highlights include an excellent short examination of the landscape and painting style and an even better essay on its fame and impact ("Like so many things nowadays, the Mona Lisa is famous mainly for being famous").

Amazon. The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern by Carol Strickland and John Boswell. Not just the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa Mania another, more circumscribed fansite. My favorite section are the guesses submitted from all over the web explaining the smile. The usual suspects are there—an affair with Leonardo, she's really a he—but others too—because she's got cool shoes on, because someone's painting her, because she knows Leonardo is gay, because "she is stupid, so she smiles." There's also an excellent bibliography.

WebMuseum description and discussion by Nicolas Pioch.


Wikipedia: Mona Lisa. As you may know, Wikipedia is an "open-source" encyclopedia. Anyone can edit it, anytime. Surprisingly, it usually works, and this is a prime example. The entry covers the history and art history well, despite some imbalances, but the real excellence is in the section "Role in popular culture and avant-garde art"—only a mob could come up with some of these references.

AsktheBrain.com, "The World's First Computer-Generated Encyclopedia." Rather funny attempt to turn web mining into facts. The Brain did get her favorite artist right (Leonardo da Vinci), and I suppose her favorite movies (Erin Brockovich and Notting Hill) are connected with Mona Lisa Smile actress Julia Roberts. But what we to make of the assertion that she was "Butt Ugly" and has a spider-man comic on her coffee table?

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may like this other site by me:

Angels on the Web. Images and other web resources on angels in Western culture, religion and art.

Mermaids on the Web. 1,650 resources on mermaids and their relatives, including over 1,000 images.

Cleopatra on the Web. Comprehensive guide to Cleopatra VII in history and the Western imagination.

Email this page to someone