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Mona Lisa's Smile | The Theft | Other Theories | Nutty Theories

Mona Lisa's Smile

"What Is It With Mona Lisa's Smile? It's You!" by Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times (November 21, 2000). Also here. Harvard neuroscientist Margaret Livingstone argues the "vanishing" smile is created by differences in how central and peripheral vision works.

Why Is Mona Lisa Smiling?MORE

Amazon. A Brief History Of The Smile by Angus Trumble. (Also available in hardcover.)

NPR Talk of the Nation: Neal Conan interviews author Angus Trumble (January 20, 2004). Alas, does not get into the Mona Lisa! [14 minutes]

USA Today review article, "'Smile' puts a happy face on the history of grin" by Deirdre Donahue (March 2004)

Science News review (Feb. 2004)

NPR: All Things Considered, "Mona Lisa's Teeth." (April 5, 1999)

The Theft

1911 Theft of the Mona Lisa, from Daily Past. Includes questions for students.

The Mona Lisa Theft from Mona Lisa Exposed (Tufts University).

Amazon. Stealing the Mona Lisa: What Art Stops Us from Seeing by Darian Leader.

Amazon. The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa by Robert Noah. Booklist calls it "A lightweight tale with its roots and outlines in both the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911 and the revelation of the intricate plot surrounding that theft in 1932."

Theft of the Mona Lisa. This is a lavish, multi-page site devoted to the great 1911 theft, and digressions on topics like Mona Lisa's identity and The Myth of the Mona Lisa . The site is part of the larger site Treasures of the World: Stories behind masterworks of art and nature. "Treasures" covers other masterpieces, like the Taj Mahal and Picasso's Guernica.

Other Theories

NPR, Talk of the Nation: "Math and the Mona Lisa." Interview with Bulent Atalay (Math and the Mona Lisa: The Art and Science of Leonardo daVinci) and Margaret Livingstone, author of the central/peripheral vision theory. (August 20, 2004)

Amazon. Math and the Mona Lisa: The Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci by Bulent Atalay. Publishers Weekly's describes it as a "readable, if less than compelling, disquisition on the close relationship of art and science." Reader reviews are all raves.

"Mona - The Medusa Equation and the Pregnant Mona Lisa" a detailed exploration of the "pregnany" motif in Mona Lisa redos.

Nutty Theories has three essays by "morphus" on the painting's alleged esoteric meaning:

  • Shifting identities, adding up letters in ways only slightly less laughable than Farakan's analysis of the Washingon Monument.[1]
  • Composition, diddling with cubits.
  • Rebis [sic!], in which Mona Lisa is a "rebis" (misspelling of "rebus," and a mistake for "anagram") for "Sol Anima." Sol anima is then rapidly turned into sol lune (presumably luna). Alchemical schennanigans follow.
Lastly, Da Vinci was a strange guy and the Renaissance was a time of esoteric traditions and encoded meanings. But what are we to make of the website's effort to connect Daniel Liebeskind with Jesus, Israel and the Declaration of Independence through numerology? But let's not spurn gematria entirely. My researches have uncovered a most starting one:

AIWAZ.NET = 1 + 9 + 23 + 1 + 26 + 14 + 5 + 20 = 99

BRAINLESS = 2 + 18 + 1 + 9 + 14 + 12 + 5 + 19 + 19 = 99

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

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

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